Massachusetts will get $19.8 million as part of a pair of multistate settlements with Illinois drug company Abbott Laboratories, which agreed to pay a total of $900 million and plead guilty to violating a federal drug law to resolve charges of illegal off-label marketing.
The accords revolve around Abbott's promotion of the antiseizure medication Depakote for off-label uses over 10 years. In one, Abbott will pay the states and US government $800 million in civil damages and penalties to compensate Medicaid, Medicare, and other federal health care plans to settle a suit filed under the False Claims Act.
In the other settlement, Abbott will pay an additional $100 million to states under a consent judgment detailing violations to consumer protection laws. "These settlements help ensure that consumers will be protected from misleading marketing that can result in the unnecessary and unsafe use of prescription drugs,'' Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley said in a statement.
Abbott released a statement saying it cooperated with the government in the four-year-old investigation. "We are pleased to resolve this matter and are confident we have the programs in place to satisfy the requirements of this settlement,'' Abbott general counsel Laura J. Schumacher said.