Eli Lilly paying $13M to Idaho in Zyprexa case

John O'Brien Oct. 20, 2009, 4:28pm


BOISE, Idaho (Legal Newsline) - Idaho has announced the terms of its Zyprexa settlement with pharmaceutical maker Eli Lilly & Co., becoming the third state that held out of a multi-state agreement to do so.

Eli Lilly will pay $13 million to settle charges it promoted off-label uses for the antipsychotic Zyprexa, which was also alleged to have caused weight gain-related side effects like diabetes and hypertension.

Private attorneys hired by the State to pursue the action will receive more than $2.5 million.

"Off-label promotion of pharmaceutical drugs is a deceptive practice and creates unnecessary risks to consumers," Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said.

"In this instance, the company's practices also resulted in additional costs to Idaho Medicaid, at the expense of Idaho taxpayers. Fortunately we were able to reach this settlement and recover those taxpayer dollars."

Eli Lilly admitted no wrongdoing in the agreement.

The settlement provides for more than $5 million for Medicaid restitution and another $5.1 million for consumer protection claims. Wasden's office will receive almost $70,000.

Idaho hired Siegfriend & Jensen and Steele & Biggs, both of Salt Lake City. Those firms are receiving $2,447,570.87 for their work, plus an additional $114,029.52 for expenses.

Neither firm contributed to Wasden. Siegfried & Jensen donated $35,000 to Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and hired his daughter to work as a paralegal on Zyprexa and Vioxx cases.

Twelve states did not settle their claims against Eli Lilly in a 33-state, $62 million settlement. Connecticut settled for $25.1 million, and West Virginia settled for more than $22 million, with $6.75 going to outside counsel hired by state Attorney General Darrell McGraw.

Eli Lilly has paid $1.4 billion to settle federal civil and criminal claims stemming from the alleged off-label marketing.

The payment also benefited the Medicaid programs of more than 30 states that collectively received approximately $362 million.

Other states have reached settlements, but they have not been made final.

Only Mississippi has not reached a settlement from a group of states that had claims in federal court. The others are West Virginia, Connecticut, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, Louisiana and Utah.

South Carolina has settled its state court case, while Utah, Pennsylvania and Arkansas have cases remaining in state courts.

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

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