Idaho, Other Northwest States Net Millions From Pharmaceutical Settlement

May 8, 2012

Idaho, Washington and Oregon are among the 44 states splitting a $100 million settlement with pharmaceutical giant Abbott Labs. The agreement announced Monday resolves a dispute over the company's marketing of a drug called Depakote.

The medication is federally-approved to treat certain mental illnesses. But a multi-state investigation found that Abbott used a flawed study to promote the drug as a way to treat other illnesses, such as schizophrenia and dementia.

"When they subsequently did a second study, that study found that Depakote was not effective to treat schizophrenia," says David Hart a prosecutor with the Oregon Department of Justice. "But they continued to promote using the weaker first study."

The settlement is part of a much larger $1.5 billion deal that Abbott Labs struck with the federal government. It resolves civil and criminal penalties relating to Depakote. In a statement the drug company said it cooperated fully during the investigation.