By Margaret Cronin Fisk
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…