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Whistleblower lawsuit claims Abbott illegally promoted TriCor to diabetics

Filed August 24th, 2012 Joshua Sophy

A former Abbott Laboratories saleswoman is accusing the company of illegally promoting its cholesterol drug TriCor in a whistleblower lawsuit she filed three years ago.

According to a Chicago Tribune report, the saleswoman’s lawsuit was initially kept confidential while federal and state investigators decided whether the accusations carried any merit. In all, the federal government, 22 states, and the District of Columbia have now joined the lawsuit.

Governments – both state and federal – who believe they paid for prescriptions for TriCor based on illegal promotion of it through the Medicare and Medicaid program have a financial incentive to join this and similar whistleblower lawsuits.

The lawsuit in this case accuses Abbott of promoting TriCor as a preventative drug for heart problems among diabetics. The Food and Drug Administration has never approved TriCor for this indication and a drug company promoting it for these uses violates federal law.

The lawsuit was originally filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The woman claims as a salesperson at Abbott, she and others were “trained, directed, incentivized, and encouraged” to promote TriCor as a drug for diabetics to prevent heart problems. Heart disease is the leading cause of death among people suffering from diabetes.

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