Lilly Faces First Court Battle with Zyprexa

Drug manufacturer Eli Lilly and Co. will face its first court battle over its antipsychotic drug Zyprexa in Alaska. The trial will have important implications for other states considering suing the drug maker for not disclosing that the company knew for years that Zyprexa caused weight gain and diabetes. The courtroom testimony and ultimately the outcome of the trial will factor into whether other states want to pursue claims against Eli Lilly. In the Alaskan trial, the state of Alaska has not only accused Eli Lilly of a failure to warn doctors and patients about weight gain and diabetes but also about what it considers deceptive marketing practices designed to increase sales of Zyprexa. The Alaska state attorney general has alleged that Lilly improperly marketed Zyprexa “off-label” to the state’s Medicaid recipients, costing Alaska more than it should have to reimburse patients. The state’s Medicaid program spent about $40 million on Zyprexa in the past five years, about a third of it for off-label uses.