Eli Lilly finalizing $1.4 billion settlement

John O'Brien Jan. 15, 2009, 2:00pm

INDIANAPOLIS (Legal Newsline) - As expected, pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly & Co. is paying $1.4 billion to settle federal allegations that promoted off-label uses for its prescription antipsychotic Zyprexa.

Both the federal government and individual states that coordinated with the U.S. Attorney's Office in Philadelphia will benefit from the settlement, which Eli Lilly first publicized in October. The agreement is still subject to a federal judge's approval.

The settlement resolves both criminal and civil charges. The company did not admit to the civil allegations.

"We deeply regret the past actions covered by the misdemeanor plea," said John C. Lechleiter, Ph.D., chairman, president and chief executive officer of Lilly.

"At Lilly we take seriously our responsibilities to abide by all the laws governing our business practices, and we realize that we have a tremendous responsibility to the patients and healthcare professionals we serve. "

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum called Eli Lilly's actions a "self-serving interpretation of the rules governing drug marketing programs."

Previously, 33 attorneys general settled claims with Eli Lilly for a collective $62 million.

Eleven states still have cases pending against Eli Lilly, including Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, Arkansas and Idaho.

Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, West Virginia and Connecticut also have claims against the company. A federal judge urged those states to reach a settlement after the 33-attorney general agreement, but they could not.

The U.S. Attorney's Office began its investigation in 2004.

Nearly $800 million will be used to settle the civil allegations, with approximately $438 million going to the federal government and the remainder going to the involved states.

Another $615 million will be used to settle the criminal matter.

Lilly took a charge of $1.29 per share in the third quarter of 2008.

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at john@legalnewsline.com.

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