North Carolina Department of Justice
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Attorney General Josh Stein Reaches $25 Million Settlement with Abbott Labs

Release date: 2/6/2019

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today announced that he has reached a $25 million settlement with Abbott Laboratories over allegations that the company paid kickbacks and engaged in off-label marketing tactics to improperly promote its drug, TriCor. The Attorney General is joined in this settlement by the federal government and six other states.
 
“Improperly promoting drugs is dangerous,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “Patients and physicians need to make their treatment decisions based on medically sound information, not a company’s pursuit of profits.”
 
Specifically, the settlement resolves allegations that from January 1, 2006, through December 31, 2008, Abbott improperly marketed TriCor for non-FDA approved uses. This included advertising TriCor for use in treating, preventing, or reducing cardiovascular events and other cardiac health risks, for use in combination with statin drugs, and for first-line treatment of diabetic patients. The agreement also resolves allegations that Abbott paid or offered to pay kickbacks to healthcare professionals as an inducement to recommend, promote, and prescribe TriCor. These kickbacks came in the form of in-office meals and snacks, gifts, gift baskets and certificates, and fees paid to healthcare providers for speaking engagements and consulting services.  
 
Under the settlement, Medicaid will receive $4,024,609 and North Carolina will receive $168,000 in restitution and other recoveries. Medicare, TRICARE, the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will receive the rest of the settlement funds.
 
A National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units (NAMFCU) team participated in the investigation and conducted the settlement negotiations with Abbott on behalf of the states. In addition to North Carolina, the team included representatives from Attorneys General for the states of California, Illinois, Nevada, Maryland, Michigan, and Texas.

Contact:
Laura Brewer (919) 716-6484
 

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