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Depakote settlement earns Smyth, Tazewell counties $1.3 million

Posted By VERONICA LINARES, UPI.com   |   Aug. 15, 2013 at 2:57 PM   |   Comments

Aug. 15 (UPI) -- The Virginian counties of Smyth and Tazewell received thousands of dollars Wednesday from a federal court settlement in a case involving the illegal promotion of the drug Depakote (divalproex sodium).

Last may, Abbot Laboratories agreed to pay $1.5 billion after pleading guilty in a U.S. District Court in Abingdon, Va. for falsely promoting the use of Depakote for elderly patients and to treat schizophrenia.

Court documents show that the company's work force had been trained for over ten years to promote the aforementioned uses of the drug Depakote even though such uses were never approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

U.S. Attorney Brian Heaphy said the Abbot Laboratories settlement had been the largest single-drug settlement payout from an off-label pharmaceutical in history.

The counties' share of the settlement will be $1.3 million settlement split evenly -- $650,000 each. Both counties plan on invest part of the award in equipment for their local police departments as well as other expenditures.

Tazewell country reportedly plans to to use their share to help those struggling with drug addiction, according to Commonwealth Attorney Dennis Lee. Smyth county plans on using their half to fund the salaries of two new school resource officers, said Commonwealth Attorney Roy Evans.

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