January 30, 2008
Reports of Lilly Reaching Settlement with Federal Prosecutors
With all of the attention Merck’s been receiving lately, it’s nice (in an abstract sense) to see some headlines about Zyprexa. The New York Times reported today that Eli Lilly is discussing the possibility of settling civil and criminal investigations by federal prosecutors, with Lilly paying more than $1 billion to federal and state governments. Here’s a bit of the New York Times piece, Lilly in Settlement Talks with U.S.:
Zyprexa has serious side effects and is approved only to treat people with schizophrenia and severe bipolar disorder. But documents from Lilly show that between 2000 and 2003, Lilly encouraged doctors to prescribe Zyprexa to people with age-related dementia, as well as people with mild bipolar disorder who had previously been diagnosed only as depressed.
Although doctors can prescribe drugs for any use once they are on the market, it is illegal for drug makers to promote their medicines any uses not formally approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
Lilly may also plead guilty to a misdemeanor criminal charge as part of the agreement, the people involved with the investigation said. But the company would be allowed to keep selling Zyprexa to Medicare and Medicaid, the government programs that are the biggest customers for the drug. Zyprexa is Lilly’s most profitable product and among the world’s best-selling medicines, with 2007 sales of $4.8 billion, about half in the United States.
Lilly would neither confirm nor deny the settlement talks.
"We have been and are continuing to cooperate in state and federal investigations related to Zyprexa, including providing a broad range of documents and information," Lilly said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. "As part of that cooperation we regularly have discussions with the government. However, we have no intention of sharing those discussions with the news media and it would be speculative and irresponsible for anyone to do so."
Lilly also said that it had always followed state and federal laws when promoting Zyprexa.
The Lilly fine would be distributed among federal and state governments, which spend about $1.5 billion on Zyprexa each year through Medicare and Medicaid.
The fine would be in addition to $1.2 billion that Lilly has already paid to settle 30,000 lawsuits from people who claim that Zyprexa caused them to suffer diabetes or other diseases. Zyprexa can cause severe weight gain in many patients and has been linked to diabetes by the American Diabetes Association.
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I've previously discussed in passing the problem of federal criminal enforcement of drug marketing laws: the laws are so vaguely written, and the penalties so severe, that even a company that firmly believes it is in the right is likely... [Read More]
Tracked on Feb 1, 2008 6:23:11 AM
I refuse to go away without Eli-Lilly's admitting guilt, especially since they expect to continue their goverment approval. To settle before admitting wrong is more than fairness allow. Mass Tort is caused by corruption, the one who gets hurt, is the citizens.
Posted by: madandhurt | May 4, 2008 9:52:07 AM
As a citizen I would like to give my comment about lawyers given permission to serve the citizens outside of what their license will permit. Clients are not receiving information needed. Without information on the internet we would be back in the dark ages. Crimes against victims are happening, lawyers working together to hide and lie about important information needed to make informed decisions. Bad lawyers have happened to me, I want Judge Weinstein to be aware of this happening (another crime commited from lawyer) giving permission to serve outside their license. I have read the American Bar Association, rule of conduct. Two lawyers, and all they have said to me is, sign this wrong settlement for this little money and sign away your rights against Eli-Lilly. Iam not asking for legal advice. TRY TO GIVE ME MY LEGAL RIGHTS!!!!!!!!!!
Posted by: yvonne mcgee | Aug 12, 2008 11:34:47 AM