Vermont spent millions on suspect drug Zyprexa

The Times Argus

By Daniel Barlow Vermont Press Bureau

MONTPELIER – As the lawsuits against Eli Lilly over its top-selling anti-schizophrenia drug Zyprexa began piling up in 2006, Vermont’s state-run insurance program spent nearly $4 million on the drug, according to documents.

That amount may seem like a drop in the bucket when compared to Zyprexa’s 2007 sales of $4.8 billion in the United States, but the payments through Vermont’s Medicaid program came at a time when 10 states and upwards of 30,000 people were suing the company over the drug.

Launched in 1996, Zyprexa has become the top-selling medication for drug-maker Eli Lilly. But those sales are dropping as lawsuits and leaked corporate documents reveal a decade-long effort to downplay the side effects, including weight gain and an increased chance of diabetes, in the company’s promotion of the drug.

Just this week the state of Alaska, population 670,000, settled its lawsuit against Eli Lilly for $15 million over what it claimed were increased Medicaid costs due to health problems associated with taking Zyprexa. That was the first state to settle with the company in the lawsuits.

Vermont is not one of the states now suing Eli Lilly. But on Thursday, the Vermont Association for Mental Health, a Montpelier-based advocacy organization, urged the state to pursue that legal option. Executive Director Ken Libertoff said this case was a “sad commentary” on the influence of the pharmaceutical industry…



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5 responses to “Vermont spent millions on suspect drug Zyprexa

  1. Laura

    As a former Vermonter, and mother of a beloved only son who was killed by Zyprexa due to profound hyperglycemia, I urge the Vermont Attorney General to bring suit against Eli Lillly as soon as possible. Have it be a RICO suit, such as was filed in the state of Connecticut so that criminal charges have a chance of sending evil Lilly executives to prison where they belong.

    I believe in justice and justice from my former, loved state of Vermont would ease my weary and ever-grieving heart. Prison, not just money, would show the world that this country still stands for something other than just the corporate bottom line which is all that Lilly cares about.

  2. Each state that spent millions on Zyprexa,through their medicade program, should sue Eli Lilly. This would draw attention to the fact that Zyprexa among a host of other drugs, was not studied enough, never on children, and the days when we citizens become guni pigs at the hands of corporate America, who pay drug reps and doctors to push this garbage are at an end. Period. As back up the FDA, tells us it’s ok, well, the FDA needs a major over haul too.
    Fight for your rights, and as we have learned, too often it’s through their pocket book, money speaks, though it does not bring back loved ones, or give me back 14 years, so I fight, for each of us: for an end to the epidemic of prescription medication, that does do much harm.

  3. Zyprexa has caused enough problems and the State of Vermont should do something to help it’s citizens that have been effected because of this drug.

  4. Zyprexa is one of the worst drugs out there and very dangerous as well.

  5. Arlene Harrell

    I got left out of former class action suits because I had a lawyer who just sat on my info and did nothing.
    I developed diabetes after taking Zyprexa for years.
    Does anyone know of a suit I might join NOW???

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