Business briefs: Abbott, IMS Health, Boehringer, plus healthcare reform

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Abbott's 2012 agreement to pay $1.6 billion over alleged off-labeling marketing of its antipsychotic Depakote was not the end of related litigation. Bloomberg reported Friday that three insurers allege Abbott Labs is guilty of racketeering, according to a complaint filed against the drug maker in Chicago. The firm pled guilty to using a specialty sales force to encourage off-label use to control agitation and aggression in elderly dementia patients from 1998 through 2006, and also pled guilty to pushing the drug as a partner to atypical anti-psychotics for schizophrenia from 2001 through 2006. This latest claim asserts that the 2012 “sanctions were insufficient to compensate,” for the harm, reports Bloomberg.

IMS Health scooped up mobile health company Diversinet's assets for $3.5 million, reports MobiHealthNews. The deal includes Diversinet's intellectual property, software and customer contracts, as well as some employees. MobiHealth notes that this is a significant move for IMS, which has been working to create a foundation in mobile health, including being the first company to get Ford to integrate its allergy app into car on-board computing systems.

Boehringer Ingelheim is shuttering a Petersburg, VA, chemical plant by the end of 2015. The company said in a statement Friday that the closure will take place in stages, and will affect 240 employees. The company said it tried to sell the site but could not find a suitable buyer.

Delaying healthcare reform's out-of-pocket cap has brought on GOP criticism, including bites from Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn, who Politico quotes as saying, “Yet another delay in the implementation of Obamacare has come to light, confirming what Texans already know—this law does not work.” The White House disagrees, and says it is critical to note that those slamming this delay are the very same individuals who have tried to overturn healthcare reform since it was enacted. “The point is, it's a little hard to take their criticism seriously considering their opposition to the law in the first place,” principal deputy Josh Earnest told reporters, in LifeHealthPro's recounting of a Wednesday press briefing. There have been 40 votes to overturn healthcare reform. The payment cap was meant to give consumers one maximum out-of-pocket outlay, as opposed to contending with one for healthcare services and one for prescriptions. The delay moves implementation to 2015. The Administration announced in July that employers with 50 or fewer employees would also get a reprieve, and rolled back the requirement that they provide insurance from 2014 to 2015.

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