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Va. whistleblower action is basis of Depakote probe

When Judge Wilson ordered Abbott Laboratories to turn over selected e-mails to federal investigators looking into alleged off-label marketing of Depakote, we had to wonder – why was this high-level pharmaceutical drama playing out in Abingdon, Va.?

Abbott is based in Illinois. It sells the anti-seizure drug Depakote all around the world. The Justice Department is publicly targeting off-label drug marketing, but no such actions have previously emerged in Virginia.

Western District U.S. Attorney Tim Heaphy had the answer today – it’s a qui tam action. Apparently, a whistleblower in Virginia filed an action now being used by the feds to investigate whether Abbott improperly touted Depakote for non-approved purposes.

Heaphy said the action could be unsealed in the next couple months. “It’s in the pipeline,” he said.

By Peter Vieth

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