Located in North Chicago, Abbott Laboratories is an American pharmaceutical company which produces health care and pharmaceutical products for consumers around the globe. Founded in 1888, Abbott Laboratories currently generates more than $35 billion in annual revenues.
Abbott Laboratories was founded in 1888 by Wallace Calvin Abbott, a Chicago doctor. After Dr. Abbott graduated from the University of Michigan he not only became a practicing physician and drug store owner, but he also started Abbott Alkaloidal Company. Dr. Abbott’s goal was to standardize the delivery of certain medications, which he believed would offer effective and more consistent treatment for his patients.
After more than 125 years of growth, Abbott Laboratories is now a global company selling dozens of products in more than 130 countries. Abbott Laboratories employees more than 90,000 employees who work to develop, produce, and distribute a wide range of products including those for the treatment of HIV, seizures, severe psoriasis, thyroid disorders, and rheumatoid arthritis. Abbott Laboratories has also entered the health market producing a variety of nutritional supplements and meal replacements products.
Abbott Laboratories rise to one of the top pharmaceutical companies in the world has not been without problems. In 2003, Abbott Laboratories was forced to pay $255 million settlement to the British company Cambridge Antibody Technology (CAT) and a $7.5M settlement to the Medical Research Council over the medication Humira.
Later in 2012, Abbott Laboratories was criminally charged with illegally marketing Depakote for use of controlling behavioral disturbances for patients with dementia and schizophrenia, a treatment which was not approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). This time the company was assessed the second largest criminal fine ever against a drug company and was required to pay a $500 million and a $198.5 million forfeiture.
Abbott Laboratories began as the dream of one man: Dr. Wallace Calvin Abbott. Abbott’s vision was to create a company that could become the worlds premier health care company. His dream began when he started the Abbott Alkaloidal Company and began manufacturing alkaloid pills for medications such as morphine, quinine, strychnine, and codeine. In 1915 he changed the name of his company to Abbott Laboratories, and in 1929 public shares were issued on the Chicago Stock Exchange. Following the war, Abbott continued to develop and research new drugs, finally expanding his research to a lab in North Carolina. This laboratory was instrumental in developing a wide number of drugs including sedatives, tranquilizers, and vitamins. By 1931, the company had expanded to Canada. Over the next 125 years, Abbott laboratories continued to acquire other companies and generate billions of dollars producing new products.
Depakote, an antiepileptic drug, has been available for use since 1983. As of 2015, Abbott Laboratories has received approval from the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to manufacture and market Depakote for the treatment of certain epileptic seizures, acute manic symptoms in patients with bipolar disorder, and migraine headaches. Claimants who suffer from the conditions can use Depakote either in pill, injection, or liquid form. If the treatment is successful claimant’s symptoms may be reduced as the chemicals in Depakote increase the GABA (a neurotransmitter) in the brain and help to reduce voltage sensitive sodium channels.
Claimants have filed lawsuits against Abbott Laboratories claiming that Depakote can cause serious side-effects when taken during pregnancy. Among the claims is that Abbott Laboratories failed to adequately warn patients about the dangers of this product. The FDA has since required Abbott Laboratories to include additional warnings about their product and has asked doctors to notify nursing, pregnant, or women who are trying to conceive a child that the medication can cause a variety of dangerous conditions to the unborn. These conditions can include developmental delays, cleft palates, cleft lip, spina bifida, facial dysmorphism, genitourinary (reproductive organ) malformations, developmental delays, autism, low IQ, and heart defects. Most of the women filed their lawsuits several years ago and are now waiting for the courts to make their decisions. If you have taken Depakota and have questions about the safety of the product or whether or not your child’s injuries may be a result of this product you can talk to product liability lawyer for more information.