Caldwell

NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - Eli Lilly & Co. is paying $24 million to settle the Zyprexa lawsuit brought by former Louisiana Attorney General Charles Foti.

The settlement, announced Wednesday by state Attorney General Stuart Caldwell, will provide $20 million to the state and $4 million to the private attorneys hired by Foti to file the lawsuit.

With the settlement, only two lawsuits brought by state attorneys general remain regarding Zyprexa, a prescription antipsychotic.

"This settlement is a great victory for the state of Louisiana and its citizens," Caldwell said.

"This settlement sends a clear message to pharmaceutical companies that improper and illegal marketing of drugs will not be tolerated in Louisiana. The state will receive reimbursement for our Medicaid program that paid claims related to health affects suffered by patients who took a drug not appropriate for them."

Nearly $17 million of the settlement is going to the state's general fund.

Of 12 states that held out of a 33-state settlement, only Pennsylvania and Minnesota still have pending suits.

The other holdout states that have settled are:

-Connecticut settled for $25.1 million;

-West Virginia settled for more than $22 million ($6.75 went to outside counsel hired by state Attorney General Darrell McGraw);

-Idaho settled its case for $13 million ($2.5 went to outside counsel hired by state Attorney General Lawrence Wasden);

-New Mexico settled its case for $15.5 million ($5.4 million went to outside counsel hired by former state Attorney General Patricia Madrid);

-Mississippi settled its case for $18.5 million ($3.7 million went to outside counsel hired by state Attorney General Jim Hood);

-Arkansas settled its case for $18.5 million ($2.775 million went to outside counsel hired by state Attorney General Dustin McDaniel);

-Utah settled for $24 million (more than $4 million went to outside counsel hired by state Attorney General Mark Shurtleff);

-South Carolina settled for $45 million (more than $6.5 million went to outside counsel hired by state Attorney General Henry McMaster); and

-Montana settled for $13 million (nearly $3 million went to outside counsel hired by former Attorney General Mike McGrath).

The suits allege Lilly marketed Zyprexa for off-label purposes and that the drug caused weight gain-related side effects like diabetes and hypertension.

Eli Lilly has also paid $1.4 billion to settle federal civil and criminal claims stemming from alleged off-label marketing. The payment also benefited the Medicaid programs of more than 30 states that collectively received approximately $362 million.

Pennsylvania's lawsuit was filed by Gov. Ed Rendell's office, not Attorney General Tom Corbett's. Rendell hired Bailey Perrin Bailey, a Houston firm that donated $75,000 to his last campaign fund. BPB also gave $75,000 to Hood, who also hired the firm for the case.

The lawyers hired by Foti to pursue the Louisiana suit were:

-Morrow, Morrow, Ryan & Bassett of Opelousas, La., which donated $7,500 to Foti from 2003-07, when he lost his bid for re-election, then donated $5,000 to Caldwell;

-Kenneth DeJean of Lafayette, La., who donated $5,500 to Foti before giving $1,000 to Caldwell; and

-Robert Salim of Natchitoches, La., who donated $1,000 to Caldwell.

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

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