Eli Lilly Finally Pays for Drug Marketing Abuses

Eli Lilly will pay the largest fine "in a health care case, and the largest criminal fine for an individual corporation ever imposed in a U.S. criminal prosecution of any kind." The pharmaceutical company will pay $1.42 billion to settle criminal and civil charges related to the marketing of its anti-psychotic drug Zyprexa. Eli Lilly admitted to promoting Zyprexa for unapproved, "off-label" uses between 1999 and 2001, including for treatment of dementia in elderly populations. Zyprexa is approved for treatment of schizophrenia and various types of bipolar disorder. Zyprexa "has been Lilly's top-selling drug, garnering the company more than $37 billion in world-wide sales since its U.S. approval in 1996," according to the Wall Street Journal. In 2007, Eli Lilly tried to keep websites from posting copies of its Zyprexa marketing documents. Internal documents also show that the company downplayed Zyprexa's side effects, including an increased risk of diabetes.