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Abbott Ordered to Turn Over E-mails for Government Probe

April 14, 2010
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A federal judge has ordered drugmaker Abbott Laboratories to hand over thousands of e-mails in connection with a government investigation into whether the company illegally marketed a neurological drug, according to the Associated Press. Abbott has refused two subpoena requests from the attorney general for the Western District of Virginia. The attorney general requested all e-mails sent by three executives, including Chief Executive Miles White, between 1996 and 2008. The attorney general is investigating whether Abbott promoted its anti-seizure drug Depakote to control aggression and agitation in seniors, an unapproved use. North Chicago-based Abbott disclosed the investigation in regulatory filings last fall. Doctors are allowed to prescribe drugs for a variety of uses, but companies can only promote uses approved by the Food and Drug Administration. U.S. District Judge Samuel Wilson rejected Abbott''s arguments in a March 10 memo recently posted online, and ordered the company to produce the e-mails. Abbott previously said it would cost tens of thousands of dollars to recover the requested e-mails from backup tapes in company storage.

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