Georgia has settled its claim against Eli Lilly and Co. over the pharmaceutical giant’s off-label promotion of Zyprexa, the anti-psychotic drug. The state will get more than $6 million from the settlement. Interestingly, a dozen other states have elected not to settle, but instead, those states have filed their own individual lawsuits that will seek damages. In part those states ask for reimbursement for Medicaid payments for unwarranted Zyprexa prescriptions. While Lilly has denied wrongdoing in these civil cases, it’s evident that Lilly misled patients and their doctors about Zyprexa’s potential side effects, which are diabetes, hyperglycemia and excessive weight gain.
Georgia was among 30 states that decided not to sue and accepted the settlement. State Attorney General Thurbert Baker believes that was best for state taxpayers. His office looked at the anticipated Medicaid losses and calculated the settlement amount would be about double the amount of Georgia’s claims had suit been filed. Actually, the total settlement for Georgia is more than $15 million, with $9 million going to reimburse the federal share of state Medicaid claims.
As we have reported in prior issues, Zyprexa has Food and Drug Administration approval for the treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. But Lilly’s marketing campaign targeted patients with dementia, even though the company lacked FDA approval to do so. The drug was Lilly’s best seller for years, bringing in billions of dollars. In January, Lilly pleaded guilty in criminal court to illegally marketing Zyprexa. It agreed to pay $1.42 billion to resolve lawsuits and end the criminal investigation. This amount included $800 million to settle civil cases, with $438 million going to the federal government and $362 million to the states. As a matter of interest, during a trial Alaska settled its individual Zyprexa lawsuit for $15 million.
Source: Atlanta-Journal Constitution
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