Thursday, January 15, 2009

Lilly to Pay Biggest Fine Ever to End Zyprexa Probe (Update7)

Eli Lilly & Co. will plead guilty to a charge of promoting its antipsychotic drug Zyprexa for unapproved uses and pay $1.42 billion, including the largest criminal fine ever imposed by the U.S. on an individual company.

The company admitted its marketing of Zyprexa was illegal in a civil and criminal settlement announced jointly today in a statement by Acting U.S. Attorney Laurie Magid and Attorney General Michael Mukasey. Lilly will also submit to U.S. monitoring against future lawbreaking.

Lilly resolved federal and state probes into how it marketed the drug and will make its guilty plea in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia in the next few weeks, the Indianapolis- based drugmaker said in a statement. Lilly said it promoted Zyprexa in elderly people to treat dementia, a use not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, between September 1999 and March 2001, a criminal violation of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

“Eli Lilly completely ignored the law” and made “hundred of millions of dollars” from its illegal promotion of Zyprexa, Magid said at a press conference in Philadelphia today. “We’re holding a company responsible for putting thousands and thousands of patients at risk.”


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