Times: Lilly mulling $1-bil. payout to feds for Zyprexa marketing

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An article in The New York Times says that Lilly is considering a $1 billion settlement of a four-year federal investigation into Zyprexa marketing, but the company cast doubt on the Times' reporting.

The settlement would be the largest ever for a federal case involving illegal marketing practices by a pharmaceutical firm, the Times piece said. Lilly is alleged to have promoted the drug, which is approved for treatment of schizophrenia and severe bipolar disorder, for use in patients suffering from mild bipolar disorder and age-related dementia.

In a statement, the company acknowledged receipt of a grand jury subpoena from the Office of the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania seeking documents related to Zyprexa, but cautioned, “know that we disagree with many speculative statements contained in the article in the Times.”

Lilly, the statement said, “is committed to promoting our medications only for approved uses and consistent with all federal and state laws. We disagree with any allegations or suggestions to the contrary.” The firm is cooperating with state and federal investigations, the statement continued, and as part of that, regularly has discussions with the government, but has “no intention of sharing those discussions with the news media, and it would be speculative and irresponsible for anyone to do so.”

The company has already set aside $1.2 billion to settle lawsuits from patients claiming that the weight gain associated with the drug caused them to develop diabetes or other ailments. Lilly has settled more than 25,000 claims related to Zyprexa. Another 1,100 remain unsettled.

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