Both Abbott Laboratories and AbbVie Inc. will settle with the federal government for allegations that they employed kickbacks and unlawful methods of marketing and promotion to sell more TriCor® subscriptions. The allegations are based on activities between 2006 to 2008. According to government complaint, the pharmaceutical companies sales representatives A) allegedly provided physicians with improper gift baskets, gift cards and other items to induce prescriptions and B) unlawfully promoted TriCor® for 1) treating, preventing or reducing cardiovascular events and other cardiac risks 2)use in combination with statin drugs and 3) use as a first-line treatment of diabetic patients including the prevention of cardiac health risks in diabetic patients. At the time these were not FDA approved uses of the drug. According to U.S. attorney William McSwain, “federal law protects patients from medical providers who write prescriptions, so they can enrich themselves, and from drug companies who do not play by the rules in their marketing and promotional efforts.”
The allegations derived from a field representative turned whistle blower who received $6.5 million from this case. As they were allegations only and the matter has been settled there is no determination of liability.