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AbbVie and Abbott

Abbott Laboratories has a 125 year legacy in the pharmaceutical industry, which was started by founder Dr. Wallace C. Abbott with the “dosimetric granules” he crafted from medicinal plants. In 2013, Abbott, a single pharmaceutical company, announced it would split into two publicly traded companies. Its subsidiary named “AbbVie” would take control of the most popular proprietary drugs in the family. This involved future research, development, and new testing. Richard Gonzalez, chief executive at AbbVie, explained the company would continue finding treatments for conditions thought untreatable and solving problems thought unsolvable. Abbott would begin focusing more on diversified medical products.

AbbVie’s cornerstone is research and innovation. The business strives to provide patients with benefits concerning the world’s most common diseases, especially within the realm of immunology, kidney disease, liver disease, oncology, and neuroscience. AbbVie’s scientific breakthroughs have led to the development of vital drugs that treat HIV, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and other autoimmune disorders.

Abbott promises to help people live healthier lives. The company utilizes the newest technologies to develop improvements for the healthcare field. The diversity of Abbott offers a broad line of products, which benefit people in all stages of life. Abbot encourages good nutrition, develops state-of-the-art medical devices, pioneers new diagnostic procedures, and creates medicine that helps people remain healthy.

The future of Abbott & AbbVie contains numerous drugs and products that await FDA approval. One of the most promising is a therapy for hepatitis C. Other drugs on the horizon include treatments for blood cancers. These may prove to be some of the most profitable in company history.

Drugs or Medical Devices Recalled Against AbbVie and Abbott

Through the years, this pharmaceutical giant experienced some major recalls. One of the biggest involved intravenous bags. From 1969 to 1971, 50 deaths and 400 injuries occurred from contaminated IV bags. Due to “objectionable” equipment and plant conditions, the FDA concluded the screw cap closures became filled with bacteria, which caused the potential for serious illness.

Other recalls involved Depakote, an anti-seizure drug, and Synthroid, a thyroid medication. The first Synthroid recall was due to a labeling error. The second recall was due to bottle defects, which could affect the stability of the tablets at the end of their shelf life. In February 2014, the company saw another recall of its blood glucose monitors.

Verdicts Against AbbVie and Abbott

Over the years, there have been many court cases with verdicts against AbbVie & Abbott. In 2012, the company agreed to pay $1.6 billion for its illegal advertising of Depakote, a drug originally developed to control seizures. In this country’s history, this was the second largest payment by a drug company. This verdict came with court-supervised probation and reporting obligations. James M. Cole, Deputy Attorney General, explained this settlement proved evidence of a deep commitment to public health and may be a deterrent to other pharmaceutical companies. Abbott plead guilty to misbranding Depakote and promoting the drug as a means to control aggression in elderly dementia patients and as a treatment for schizophrenia. Neither of these uses were approved by the FDA. Abbott issued a statement that admitted the company maintained a special sales team to market this drug in nursing homes and similar facilities, despite the absence of scientific data that proved it was safe and effective. In 1999, Abbott was forced to stop trials that studied Depakote as a treatment for dementia. It appears the drug was shown to cause adverse reactions, including dehydration and anorexia. Later, it was discovered that Abbott paid millions of dollars in rebates to pharmacy providers who touted this drug for “off-label” uses. This blatant behavior clearly displayed how AbbVie & Abbott placed profits ahead of patients. One year later, the company agreed to another hefty $524 million fine for giving kickbacks to doctors who used Abbott’s products while treating circulatory disorders.

The latest verdict against Abbott Laboratories and AbbVie Inc. forced the company to pay $2.2 million to a plaintiff in a Humira lawsuit. According to the case, a woman who used this drug almost died of a fungal infection that was nearly impossible to diagnose. If Abbott supplied adequate warnings of dangers linked to Humira, physicians would have been able to uncover the infection before it became near-fatal. On Abbott’s behalf, lawyers claimed the drug’s label provided warnings of infection risks. Despite an avid defense, the judge found Abbott & AbbVie responsible for negligent actions and resolved the case with the large settlement.

Dangerous Drugs and Lawsuits Filed

Besides recalls, AbbVie & Abbott have dealt with a number of lawsuits concerning other dangerous drugs produced by the entities. For instance, Androgel is a treatment created for men with low testosterone. After introduction, numerous negative side effects were reported. This drug was proven to increase the risks of stroke, heart attack, prostate cancer, and kidney and liver problems. Since this drug can be transferred from person to person, children who came in contact with the product seemed to develop early puberty as well. Sleep apnea, low sperm count, and breast development are other known side effects. After these problems were noted, the FDA announced it would wage more research into this testosterone replacement therapy and similar products. Dozens of men have filed lawsuits against AbbVie & Abbott claiming the companies withheld vital information regarding the dangers of these drugs.

FDA Sanctions

In 1999, the FDA entered into a consent decree with Abbott. This agreement stated the company would discontinue manufacturing, distribution, and sales of approximately 65 blood and urine tests. It was a result of six years of manufacturing deficiencies in the diagnostics division and failure to fix multiple problems within the organization. Abbott was forced to pay $100 million in fines to the FDA and suffered a $250 million loss in sales. Despite the odds, Abbott was able to successfully place the sanctions in the past. In 2012, the pharmaceutical giant demonstrated the ability to remain in compliance with good manufacturing practices. Both Abbott & AbbVie continue to grow and develop products and drugs.

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