Statute of Limitations Gets Lilly Out of Zyprexa Lawsuit

On Monday, the 2nd Circuit ruled that the plaintiff in the Zyprexa lawsuit knew (or should have known) that Zyprexa potentially caused his diabetes more than two years before he sued Eli Lily.

Plaintiff was told by his doctor that he had diabetes in the late 1980’s or early 1990’s. He was prescribed Zyprexa in 1997 and continued taking it until late 2001, when his doctor took him off took him off of the drug due to weight gain.

Plaintiff’s lawsuit (filed in 2006) claimed that while taking the drug, his glycemic control significantly worsened and that towards the end, he developed diabetes-related complications.

Obviously, you can see the problem. Not many states have statute of limitations that exceed 5 years. Virginia, the state at issue here, has a two year SOL. The court said, in a very short opinion, that while the discovery rule does apply, plaintiff knew enough to inquire further which is when the limitations period begins to tick.

There have been 30,000 lawsuits brought against Eli Lilly. The cases are generally the same. The typical plaintiff took Zyprexa for psychiatric problems and alleges that Zyprexa caused complications such as meaningful weight gain, hyperglycemia, and diabetes.

The big challenge in these cases is specific causation – proving that the Zyprexa is what really caused the diabetes and weight gain. There are tons of cases like this one with statute of limitations problems. The learned intermediary doctrine also has tripped up many Zyprexa plaintiffs. Finally, many of the plaintiffs have severe psychiatric problems that sometimes makes them, frankly, less attractive as plaintiffs.

You can find the opinion in Rogert v. Eli Lilly here.

Effient Lawsuit?

There have been no lawsuits filed (of which we are aware) involving Effient, a blood-thinner marketed by Eli Lilly. There could be potential lawsuits on the horizon after news that Effient has been linked to higher rates of cancer than its rival, Plavix, according to data provided in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Sometimes plaintiffs’ lawyers are like the man with a hammer. Everything is a nail. So before demanding a recall and calling this the next class action, here are two good reasons why there may never be any lawsuits associated with Effient: First, it could be that this data is wrong and there is no high rate of cancer with Effient. Second, it could be that Eli Lily could not have known of the increased cancer rate even with the exercise of reasonable care and diligence. Still, smart Effient patients should be talking to their doctors and smart plaintiffs’ lawyers will keep abreast of future developments.

Seroquel Update

We’ve been getting a lot of questions over the past few days about Seroquel. That usually means I need to put up a new post, especially in light of recent events.

Earlier this week, AstraZeneca (the manufacturer of Seroquel) agreed to pay $520 million to settle a federal inquiry into Seroquel marketing practices. As we have stated before, Seroquel is approved to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. However, investigators and plaintiffs believe that AstraZeneca marketed the drug for myriad other unapproved uses, including depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, dementia, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

whistle.jpgThere are no criminal charges associated with the deal. Giving credence to plaintiffs’ claims (aside from the credibility arising from the mere fact of a whopping large settlement), is that federal investigators got much of their information from AstraZeneca whistleblowers, drug sales rep, James Wetta (who had some involvement in the whistleblowing at Eli Lilly around 2003).

The deal comes at a time when such deals seem to be simply the cost of doing business. As just one example, Boston Scientific is in the midst of trying to settle with investigators for $296 million over the actions of a company it acquired, Guidant. Seroquel’s settlement pales in light of the fact that in 2009 alone, they made $4.9 billion in Seroquel sales. Isn’t that criminal?

Anyway—civil lawsuits are still continuing, but Plaintiffs are having a hard time of it. For more information, visit Drug Recall Lawyer Blog posts on Seroquel.