$1.5 billion

Amount Abbott Laboratories agreed to pay in criminal fines and in civil settlements with the government, after pleading guilty to marketing its anti-seizure and mood-stabilizing drug Depakote for uses unapproved by the Food and Drug Administration. Depakote is approved to treat seizures and bipolar disorder, but Abbott promoted it for the treatment of schizophrenia, autism and agitated dementia — the latter particularly in nursing homes. According to U.S. Attorney Timothy Heaphy, the company’s illegal conduct was not the product of “some rogue sales representatives,” but an institutional strategy from 1998 to at least 2006. [via Associated Press]

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