Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Did Eli Lilly market drug knowing it was ineffective?
Bloomberg.com is reporting that Eli Lilly & Co. urged doctors to prescribe Zyprexa for elderly patients with dementia, an unapproved use for that particular drug, even though the drugmaker had evidence the medicine didn’t work for such patients, according to unsealed internal company documents. The full story is available here. Commenting on the story, The PopTort has posted a short comment that starts as follows (links are in the original): "A group of insurers is currently enmeshed in a nasty legal tussle with drug giant Eli Lilly over the company’s illegal “off label” marketing of the anti-psychotic drug, Zyprexa. If you’re having déjà vu about now, that’s probably because the company has been in similar trouble before, downplaying the fact that the drug could cause significant weight gain and diabetes, while employing a variety of nefarious tactics to convince doctors to prescribe the stuff to elderly people to help alleviate dementia, sleep troubles and irritability (even though it knew the drug didn’t work for those conditions)." The PopTort blog article goes on to quote an email exchange, within Eli Lilly which shows its intent to stop studying Zyprexa’s potential risks for elderly people "because doing so would risk “killing the goose that lays the golden eggs....” The Pop Tort blog comment is available here.