Judge wary of certifying Zyprexa classes

Score one for Eli Lilly in federal court. A district judge says he probably won't give class-action status to patients and insurers who paid for Zyprexa for FDA-approved uses. And he doesn't expect the plaintiffs to be able to claim punitive damages. The case "ought to be settled," Judge Jack Weinstein said. "I really think that we're not dealing with very much money."

Why? Apparently, an appeals court ruled April 3 that "light" cigarette smokers couldn't sue tobacco makers as a group; the smokers were alleging that cigarette companies fraudulently convinced them that those products were safer than regular smokes. The appeals court said the smokers were too different to have their cases tried together.

A Lilly lawyer argued that this ruling blocks Weinstein from granting class status to the Zyprexa customers; Weinstein appeared to agree. But the judge also said that he wouldn't certify a class based on uses approved by the FDA--though he might reconsider that position before his final ruling. He did say he'd consider certifying a class of off-label purchasers.

- read the item at Pharmalot

ALSO: The New York Times editorializes against preemption, saying that disallowing lawsuits over federally approved drugs would deprive the public "of a vital tool for policing companies and unearthing documents that reveal their machinations." Report

Related Articles:
Shareholders sue Lilly over Zyprexa. Zyprexa report
Lilly could pay $1B to settle on Zyprexa. Lilly report
Zyprexa--Top 10 Warnings and Recalls of 2007. Special report
Lilly strengthens Zyprexa warnings. Lilly report
Study: 86% of docs cut Zyprexa use. Zyprexa report
Lilly to pay $500M to settle Zyprexa claims. Lilly Port