May 9, 2012
Jefferson City, Mo. – Attorney General Chris Koster said today that Missouri will receive $15 million in a Medicaid fraud settlement with Abbott Laboratories over allegations of illegal off-label marketing of its drug Depakote.
The allegations related to this settlement are that from January 1998 through December 31, 2008, Abbott promoted the sale and use of Depakote for uses that were not approved by the federal government as safe and effective. Depakote is approved for treatment of seizure disorders, mania associated with bipolar disorder, and prevention of migraines, but Abbott marketed the drug for treating other conditions, including schizophrenia, agitated dementia and autism. This alleged conduct resulted in false claims to Medicaid and other federal healthcare programs.
The settlement also resolves allegations that Abbott improperly marketed the product in nursing homes and made illegal payments to health care professionals and long-term care pharmacy providers to induce them to promote and/or prescribe Depakote.
This settlement arises out of a $1.5 billion national settlement with the states and federal government and is the second largest recovery from a pharmaceutical company in a single civil and criminal resolution. Missouri’s share of the settlement is $15,154,140 for its Medicaid program, which is jointly funded by the state and the federal government.
The Medicaid fraud settlement relates to the same conduct described in the Attorney General’s settlement with Abbott announced yesterday. The prior settlement was on behalf of Missouri consumers deceived by Abbott’s marketing practices; this settlement recovers money owed to Missouri’s publicly funded Medicaid program known as MoHealthNet.
“Pharmaceutical companies must be held accountable for their actions,” Koster said. “This settlement returns scarce health care dollars to the state, and reminds these companies that if they illegally take money from the Medicaid system they will have to pay.”
Koster said citizens should report suspected Medicaid provider fraud or abuse and neglect to his Medicaid Fraud Hotline toll free at 800-286-3932, e-mail the complaint to firstname.lastname@example.org or complete a complaint form at the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Website at http://ago.mo.gov/divisions/medicaid-fraud-control-unit-faqs.htm.