It looks like Eli Lilly, the Defendant in a number of lawsuits brought by state attorneys general, is close to agreeing on a settlement. The lawsuits are premised on Lilly’s marketing of Zyprexa for unapproved uses. The settlement comes on the heels of many other settlements:
Settlements with 31,000 plaintiffs for $1.2 billion
January 2008: settlement with Alaska for $15 million
October 2008: settlement with 32 states and D.C. for $62 million
January 2009: settlement with the Justice Department for $1.42 billion.
Zyprexa is a drug approved for the treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorders. The drug was Lilly’s top-seller in 2008, making them $4.7 billion in revenue (23% of the company’s income). The settlements so far look to total about $2.7 billion—a bargain if the company is making $4.7 billion on the drug at its low point.
The claims against Lilly allege that Zyprexa was improperly marketed for other uses, including promotion to doctors for use by “disruptive kids” (according to an e-mail by John Lechleiter, now Lilly’s CEO). Zyprexa has not been approved for pediatric use, much less for kids medically diagnosed as disruptive (wait, all kids are disruptive—they’re kids). It was also marketed for patients with dementia. Lechleiter had a 2008 salary of $1,339,125.00 and total compensation of $12,978,215.00, so I’m sure he knows what he’s doing.
Zyprexa causes severe weight gain and cholesterol problems in many patients and has been linked to diabetes.