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…