Abbott to Pay $1.6 Billion for “Elder Abuse”, Off-Label Marketing


Abbott Laboratories has pled guilty to civil and criminal charges of illegally marketing Depakote for the control of agitation and aggression in elderly patients with dementia (referred to as “elder abuse” by one U.S. attorney), as well as for the treatment of schizophrenia. Abbott will undergo court-supervised probation and reporting obligations by Abbott’s CEO and board of directors.

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Related Items:
Abbott Laboratories to Pay $1.5B for Off-Label Drug Marketing (
Abbott Pleads Guilty To Misbranding; Will Pay $1.6 Billion (MediaPost)
Abbott Laboratories settles Depakote case for $1.6 billion (Chicago Tribune)
Abbott settles complaint over schizophrenia drug (Sacramento Bee)
Nebraska to get nearly $5M in Abbott settlements (CBS Money Watch)
Oregon to reap $6 million over alleged unlawful drug marketing with Portland link (
Utah receiving $4 million in drug settlement (CBS Money Watch)
Idaho settles illegal marketing case for $1.2 M with maker of anti-psychotic drug Depakote (The Republic)


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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].


  1. There seems to be no mention of whether or not the 1.6 billion dollar fine will be effective in preventing this kind of behavior in the future. Not to mention why aren’t people put in jail for this? I’d love to see the CEO of Abbott put in jail with a bunch of 20 to 30 year old guys who are in jail for drug charges. He certainly is a bigger drug pusher than any of the thousands of people we throw in jail.

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    • There is mention in some of the news articles that the amount of the damages is insufficient to have much of an effect on the drugs’ marketing. On the other hand there is mention in other places that the amount will wipe out the drug company’s profits.

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