Former sales rep files false-marketing suit against Abbott.

The Chicago Tribune (8/22, Frost) reports that a former Abbott Laboratories sales representative “filed a federal lawsuit against the company, accusing it of illegally promoting its cholesterol drug” TriCor (fenofibrate) for uses not approved by the FDA, including the “prevention of cardiac risks in patients with diabetes.” The False Claims lawsuit, “filed in the US District Court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania by Amy Bergen in September 2009 on behalf of the federal government, 22 states and Washington, D.C., was unsealed last week” after the Federal and state governments “declined to intervene.” Bergen alleges in the suit that from “1999 through 2008,” she was “trained, directed, incentivized and encouraged” by Abbott to “promote TriCor for…off-label and medically unnecessary uses. She also claims the company directed her to give illegal kickbacks to doctors…to prescribe the drug.” An Abbott spokesperson “said the allegations are without merit, noting that the federal government has declined to intervene.”