Abbott Sues Watson Over Drug Ads

ABBOTT PARK, Ill. — Abbott Laboratories filed a lawsuit against Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc. in Chicago, seeking a federal court injunction to immediately stop Watson’s advertising and trade practices regarding Abbott’s prescription thyroid drug Synthroid.

Abbott (ABT) said Tuesday it also asked the court to order Watson (WPI) to undertake an advertising campaign to correct “the deliberate misinformation it has created within the medical community.”

The Wall Street Journal has reported that the Food and Drug Administration issued regulatory notices to the maker of Synthroid early this month that the medicine has a “history of problems” and can’t be recognized as “safe and effective.”

In its lawsuit, Abbott charged that Watson is attempting an orchestrated campaign to concern and confuse patients, including misinterpretation of the FDA’s regulatory process.

“Abbott had no choice but to take this action to protect patients who have been inundated with alarming, medically-inaccurate information,” David Pizzuti, Abbott’s vice president for global medical affairs, said in a prepared statement.

Watson’s spokesman Rob Funsten said his company hasn’t received any complaint to date, but he called Abbott’s charges “completely without merit.”

Synthroid, known as levothyroxine sodium, is used by patients who have hypothyroidism or other disorders of the thyroid. It went on the market more than four decades ago.

Abbott, which acquired Synthroid’s maker earlier this year, said in the release that it will submit a New Drug Application for Synthroid by Aug. 14 to meet the FDA’s filing requirements, stated in the regulatory notice early June.

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