Abbott Laboratories has been hit with a federal lawsuit for allegedly promoting their drug TriCor for uses that it was not intended for. A former salesperson for the company was responsible for bringing the allegations. The suit, filed back in September 2009, cited the False Claims Act. Although this is not a new case, it is coming to light for the first time because it was formerly hidden to protect the whistleblower who came forward with the incriminating information. After federal and state governments failed to intervene, the records were opened.
The salesperson who filed the lawsuit stated that she was incentivized and even directly trained to promote the cholesterol drug for off-market uses such as preventing cardiac risks and other diabetes-related health effects. Also among the claims was an allegation that Abbott required salespeople to give perks to doctors and hospitals that would prescribe the drug. This particular salesperson only worked for Abbott from the years 1999 through 2008, so she is claiming that there were fraudulent actions for at least that time period. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) forbids drug makers from promoting their products for unintended uses, but doctors do have that freedom. In 2011, TriCor brought in $987 million in sales in the United States.
A representative from Abbott is saying that the claims are unsubstantiated, which is why the government failed to act. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, whistleblower claims that the government does not join in usually end in the suit being dismissed. Whistleblower claims are not always without merit. Our firm has helped many individuals who came forward about negligence or corruption in their company. We are committed to protecting people such as this in order that justice can be met. Pharmaceutical companies that are involved in practices such as the ones alleged in this case are very serious and cold result even in consumer illness and injury.