On April 7, 2016, after just three hours of deliberations following a three-week trial, a federal jury dismissed False Claims Act (“FCA”) claims against Abbott Laboratories brought by a whistleblowing former employee. The jury concluded that the company did not improperly market bile duct stents for off-label uses in vascular procedures.
The lawsuit was filed by the company’s former sales director, Kevin Colquitt, shortly after he left the company in 2006. Colquitt argued that Abbott’s improper marketing practices of using bile stents made to be inserted into bile ducts resulted in doctors submitting false claims for federal reimbursement totaling more than $219 million. While Abbott did not deny that its bile duct stents were used in vascular procedures, the company maintained that the practice was standard throughout the industry and the off-label use of the stents was actually better for patients than the alternatives.
In a 10-1 verdict, the jury found that Colquitt had not demonstrated that Abbott had engaged in any improper marketing practices in violation of the FCA and discharged the company from any liability.