Whistleblower Lawsuit Rests on Allegedly Withheld Documents

On June 19, the whistleblower in a False Claims Act suit argued that the court should take action to secure documents that demonstrate Abbott Laboratories encouraged off-label marketing and doctor kickbacks. The whistleblower and former Abbott employee, Amy Bergman, denied the company’s claims that documents have already been shared, and believes that evidence supporting her allegations can be found in the withheld papers.

Bergman sued Abbott in 2009, alleging that the company instructed its employees to promote off-label and medically unnecessary uses for the cholesterol drug TriCor. According to the claim, Bergman and other representatives were trained to push the drug’s off-label uses and to not record any of those conversations in their notes. She also alleged that Abbott gave illegal rewards to medical professionals to incentivize them to prescribe TriCor.

Abbott responded to the claims by stating that it provided Bergman and the government with 300,000 pages of information on clinical trial data, marketing materials, FDA communications and more in 2014. The company also stated that it was participating in discussions with Bergman, who failed to respond to its proposals. Bergman claimed that she had never before heard of or seen the Abbott documents.

According to Bergman’s arguments, Abbott representatives were instructed to promote the combination use of TriCor and statins. Once a new Abbott cholesterol drug, Trilipix, received FDA approval, Abbott allegedly changed its stance on this recommendation and instructed representatives to refer to the same combination of medicines as medical malpractice. Abbott has argued that claims related to Trilipix are unrelated to the case. However, Bergman stated she views Abbott’s policies as proof of prolonged fraud.

If you believe there is unlawful activity occurring in your place of work and would like information on what you should do, consult Steve Kardell at Whistleblower Law for Managers in Dallas.