The result was catastrophic, causing severe weight gain, diabetes and cardiovascular problems in patients. Eli Lilly promoted Zyprexa with deceitful determination for more than a decade with sham educational events, ghostwritten promotional articles and suspect studies. This meritless marketing misled countless physicians into accepting peer recommendations and prescribing Zyprexa for unapproved and unsafe uses. More than the money, this settlement stops future harm, preventing practices that may deceive doctors and deprive patients of the right to make informed medical decisions. My office will continue the fight to hold accountable Eli Lilly — and others we are pursuing — who disregard deadly dangers to make a profit.”
Despite only limited studies on its efficacy and safety, and only limited federally approved use, Zyprexa has become the third best-selling drug in the world as a result of Eli Lilly’s illegal promotions. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Zyprexa, or olanzapine, only for use in treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar mania. In order to maximize profits, Eli Lilly created illegal enterprises to promote Zyprexa for unapproved uses, while trying to avoid federal prohibitions against off-label drug marketing. Doctors, falsely claiming independence, urged peers at “educational forums” to prescribe Zyprexa; ghostwriters published articles that promoted off-label prescribing, omitting details about serious side effects; and public officials in various states promoted Zyprexa for unapproved uses in adolescents at detention centers and nursing homes. In reality, Eli Lilly paid these “independent” physicians and authors generously and concealed the financial arrangements by funneling compensation through its illegal enterprises and third parties. In some cases, Eli Lilly provided physicians and other participants tens of thousands of dollars in payments, grants and other compensation. Eli Lilly also illegally promoted Zyprexa for the treatment of children suffering from depression, anxiety, Attention Deficit Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, sleep disorders and generally as a mood stabilizer. Zyprexa has never been approved by the FDA for any use in children, not even for children with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.
Through the Connecticut Medical Assistance Programs (CMAP), the state pays for part or all medical benefits for enrollees, including pregnant women and newborns, adults with disabilities, people age 65 and older, and people living in nursing homes. Between 1996 and 2006, the CMAP spent millions on Zyprexa — and millions more to treat injuries related to the use of Zyprexa.