Monthly Archives: March 2007

Popular Zyprexa linked to illnesses; Schizophrenia drug at center of lawsuit

Plain Dealer

By Harlan Spector

The Ohio Medicaid program has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on the schizophrenia drug Zyprexa, at the same time Ohio and other states pursue its maker in court because of adverse medical problems caused by the drug.

For several years, the schizophrenia drug introduced in 1996 has been linked to extreme weight gain and elevated blood sugar that causes diabetes. Its maker, Eli Lilly and Co.,  has settled more than 28,000 cases for more than $1 billion and faces still more lawsuits and investigations.

Several states are investigating whether Lilly improperly marketed the drug and concealed its risks. Some are suing to recover Medicaid money spent caring for Zyprexa users.

Lilly said in a statement that it is cooperating with state attorneys general but can’t comment further. Ohio has not sued directly but has attached claims – for $7.5 million so far – to lawsuits involving 1,100 Ohio Medicaid beneficiaries…

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Lilly Fraudulently Marketed Zyprexa, Montana Claims

Bloomberg News

By Margaret Cronin Fisk

Eli Lilly & Co. was sued by the state of Montana over claims the company fraudulently marketed its antipsychotic drug Zyprexa for unapproved uses and owes the state for prescription costs and harm to patients.

Lilly allegedly gave kickbacks to doctors and improperly promoted the drug to nursing homes as a sedative, Montana Attorney General Mike McGrath said in a complaint filed March 7 in state court in Helena. He claimed Lilly, the world’s biggest maker of psychiatric drugs, bought off a “disgruntled” sales director to keep him from disclosing its marketing practices.

The drugmaker “instructed its representatives to minimize and misrepresent the dangers of Zyprexa, affirmatively and consciously placing company profits above the public safety,” according to the complaint. “This failure to warn was designed and intended to maximize company profits.”

Zyprexa has been linked to excessive weight gain and increased diabetes risk. The lawsuit is the seventh state claim against Indianapolis-based Lilly over Zyprexa marketing, and the second this year. Pennsylvania sued Lilly and two other makers of similar drugs Feb. 26 on behalf of its Medicaid programs. Both states seek unspecified reimbursement for money paid on prescriptions and any harm caused by Zyprexa…

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Pa. sues Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca over antipsychotic medications, State says three drug makers fraudulently marketed medicines

By Margaret Cronin Fisk

Bloomberg News

Eli Lilly & Co., AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals and Johnson & Johnson were sued by Pennsylvania over claims they fraudulently marketed antipsychotic drugs and owe the state for prescription costs and harm to patients.

Lilly, based in Indianapolis, hid the risks and exaggerated the benefits of its antipsychotic medication Zyprexa while persuading doctors to prescribe it for unapproved uses, the state said. London-based AstraZeneca PLC’s U.S. unit did the same for its drug Seroquel and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceutical unit for Risperdal, Pennsylvania claimed in a Feb. 26 complaint.

It’s the fifth claim on behalf of a state Medicaid program against Lilly over Zyprexa marketing practices, the second against New Brunswick, N.J.-based Johnson & Johnson over Risperdal and the first against AstraZeneca, the U.K.’s second-largest drug maker. More states are considering such lawsuits, attorney Tommy Fibich said in an interview.

“This is the biggest state so far,” said Fibich, who represents Louisiana against Lilly and Johnson & Johnson. The Pennsylvania case “could cost the companies hundreds of millions of dollars,” he said…

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