Lilly settles with 32 states over its Zyprexa marketing

Chris Rizo Oct. 7, 2008, 10:51am

INDIANAPOLIS (Legal Newsline) - Eli Lilly and Co. has agreed to pay $62 million to resolve claims with 32 states that it improperly marketed and promoted its top-selling schizophrenia drug.

The settlement with 32 states and the District of Columbia ends an 18-month investigation into Lilly's marketing of Zyprexa.

The Indianapolis-based drug company had been accused of promoting the drug for so-called off-label uses that were not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Lilly was also accused of deliberately downplaying the side effects of Zyprexa, including an increase in the risk for diabetes given weight gain that can be associated with the medication.

"The company's deceptive marketing practices were illegal and highly dangerous, and unfairly targeted doctors serving extremely vulnerable populations, including children and elderly patients with dementia," Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said.

The settlement payments will be divided among the states.

Under the terms of the settlement, which do not contain an admission of wrongdoing, the company agreed to provide attorneys general with information on compensation it made to health care providers who have received more than $100 annually from the company for promotional speaking or consulting on the anti-psychotic drug.

"This landmark settlement sends the message that pharmaceutical companies will be held responsible for their actions, including any inappropriate marketing practices which may promote off-label uses that have not been approved,"' said Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum.

In addition to Florida, the states participating in the settlement are: Alabama, Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin, as well as the District of Columbia.

Eleven other states have pending lawsuits over Zyprexa's marketing that are not covered by the agreement. Those states are: Arkansas, Connecticut, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah and West Virginia.

The company previously reached a $1.2 billion settlement with 31,000 plaintiffs.

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