SALT LAKE CITY — Utah will get $3.1 million from a settlement with Abbott Laboratories for marketing an anti-seizure drug for uses that were not FDA-approved.

Utah is among 45 states receiving a portion of the $1.5 billion settlement, the nation's second largest with a pharmaceutical company.

The drug Depakote is approved for treating seizure disorders, mania associated with bipolar disorder and prevention of migraines, but Abbott also marketed it for treating unapproved uses, including schizophrenia, agitated dementia and autism. Those misleading claims resulted in fraudulent payments from Medicaid and other federal health care programs. Abbott also offered illegal kickbacks to health care and pharmacy providers to get them to promote or prescribe Depakote.

"This is not just about money; when drug companies like Abbott engage in fraudulent marketing practices, they are affecting the health and safety of our citizens," said assistant attorney general Robert Steed, director of the Utah Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. "This will not be tolerated."

Dennis Romboy
Twitter: dennisromboy