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Eli Lilly settles Zyprexa probes

It agrees to pay 32 states, including California, $62 million to resolve inquiry into its antipsychotic drug.

October 08, 2008|From the Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — Drug maker Eli Lilly & Co. cleared another legal cloud hanging over its top-selling drug, Zyprexa, when it announced a $62-million settlement Tuesday, but several other storms are still brewing for the antipsychotic medication.

Lilly agreed to pay California, 31 other states and Washington to resolve an investigation into the company's marketing practices.

Attorneys general from several states had accused Lilly of marketing Zyprexa for off-label uses and inadequately disclosing the drug's side effects to healthcare providers, the same claims made in reams of other litigation against Lilly.

Lilly was accused of marketing the drug for pediatric care, for use at a high dose and for the treatment of dementia, according to a statement from the Indiana attorney general's office. Doctors are free to prescribe drugs for uses not approved by the FDA, but drug companies cannot market them for those situations.

The company did not admit wrongdoing in the settlement.

Lilly spokesman Phil Belt said many of the items his company agreed to were things it either already did or was in the process of doing.

Zyprexa rang up $4.8 billion in sales last year. But Lilly also has settled more than 31,000 product liability claims against the drug since 2005, shelling out more than $1.1 billion in the process.

Last year, Lilly paid $15 million to settle a lawsuit with the state of Alaska. The drug maker still faces litigation with 11 states, generally involving consumer protection issues or Medicaid reimbursement. These cases are separate from the settlement announced Tuesday.

A group of insurance companies, unions and others is suing Lilly for billions of dollars, saying the drug maker charged too much for Zyprexa and marketed the drug for off-label uses. A federal judge has recommended that Lilly settle that case and last month granted the plaintiffs class-action status.

Lilly faces about 185 product liability lawsuits involving 1,185 plaintiffs, according to its latest quarterly statement.

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