Amy Bergman, a former Abbott Laboratories saleswoman, has filed a federal whistleblower lawsuit in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against Abbott Laboratories, alleging violations of the False Claims Act. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the federal government and 22 states.
Though originally filed as a potential healthcare fraud whistleblower lawsuit, the suit was unsealed when federal and state officials declined to join the case. The lawsuit accuses Abbott of illegally promoting TriCor, a cholesterol lowering drug, for unapproved uses.
According to the lawsuit, Bergman, who worked for Abbott for nine years until 2008, says that Abbott “trained, directed, incentivized, and encouraged” her to promote TriCor for medically unnecessary and non-approved uses. The lawsuit also alleges she was directed to give kickbacks to physicians to prescribe the drug, which Berman alleges constitutes defrauding state and federal medical programs including Medicaid.
A spokesperson for Abbott said the allegations have no merit, and the Chicago Tribune reports that a memorandum posted on the Department of Justice website says that when the feds decline to join a suit it “usually, but not always, results in the dismissal” of the suit.