Settlement talks are now underway between federal prosecutors and the manufacturer of the epilepsy drug Depakote, Abbott Laboratories. At issue are allegations that the pharmaceutical giant illegally marketed Depakote for the off-label treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and as a chemical restraint for the elderly. In addition to the claims of illegal marketing, Abbott also currently faces scores of lawsuits around the country on behalf of women who claim that Depakote caused their children to be born with birth defects.
Depakote Birth Defects Update 1/24/13: A new study has determined that Depakote can cause lowered IQ’s and other cognitive deficiencies in children born to mothers who take the drug during pregnancy. Specifically, the research found that babies exposed to Depakote in the womb had IQ’s that were seven to 10 points lower than other children at age six, as well as reduced language skills and memory capacity. Click here to learn more.
Free Depakote Case Evaluation: If you or a loved one has given birth to a child with a congenital defect you feel may have been caused by Depakote, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a lawsuit and we can help.
What’s the problem?
June 6, 2011 – In what appears to be the latest chapter in a series of embarrassing mishaps for troubled pharmaceutical manufacturer Abbott Laboratories, the company is now reportedly in settlement talks with federal prosecutors over allegations that it illegally marketed its best-selling antiepileptic drug Depakote.
The Depakote lawsuit was filed by three former Abbott account executives under the qui tam provision of the False Claims Act, which allows whistleblowers who report a false claim against a company to be entitled to receive a portion of any money that the government recovers from offenders. However, a clause in the provision states that the whistleblower must be the first to bring the claim to the government’s attention, and must not publicize the claim until the Department of Justice (DOJ) decides to pursue the case.
The U.S. government has filed a whistleblower lawsuit against Abbott, claiming that the company violated federal law by promoting Depakote for ‘off-label’ purposes including Alzheimer’s disease and as a chemical restraint for elderly patients, which is often considered a form of nursing home abuse. Off-label use is the practice of prescribing drugs for unapproved indications for which they have neither been tested or evaluated for.
Depakote Birth Defects
In addition to the claims of illegal advertising, Abbott also currently faces a growing number of lawsuits filed on behalf of former Depakote users whose children were born with congenital birth defects: Commonly reported birth defects associated with Depakote include (but are not limited to):
- spina bifida
- heart defects
- cleft lip
- cleft palate
- intrauterine growth retardation
- skeletal defects
- genital malformations (hypospadias)
- hypoplastic right heart syndrome (HRHS)
- premature cranial malformations
- extra digits on the hands or toes
- liver failure
According to a recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), babies born to mothers who took Depakote in the first twelve weeks of pregnancy were up to 10 times more likely to give birth to children with heart or lung conditions than women who took no such drugs. The research also found that these children were at an increased risk for adverse, life-long mental deficiencies.
Do I have a Depakote Lawsuit?
The Product Liability & Defective Drug Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Depakote lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new birth defects cases in all 50 states.