Lilly: $1.4B ding in profits for Zyprexa charge

Earlier this month, Eli Lilly came to a settlement regarding consumer protection laws with 32 different states over inappropriate marketing of Zyprexa. Now, the company says it is in "advanced discussions" regarding a criminal investigation, in addition to a class-action lawsuit it might face.

Lilly's senior vice president and general counsel, Robert Armitage, released a statement saying that, because of the ongoing investigation, "We now have a heightened sense of responsibility to all our stakeholders to intensify efforts to resolve these issues."

Big pharma companies paying fines is now so commonplace, it's almost unsurprising. In fact, Lilly is just another on the long list of fined drug companies that includes Pfizer, Merck and Schering-Plough, to name a few. Accountability rests with the corporation (and fines with its shareholders), thereby protecting the individuals within the company who made the choices that got it into hot water. Some critics say the setup is very convenient.

Eleven states that were not part of the initial 32-state probe have also filed lawsuits over the atypical antipsychotic medication, which the company launched in 1996. Lilly said yesterday that will record in the third quarter of 2008 a charge of $1.415 billion, or $1.29 per share, as a result of its Zyprexa problems, and that the company is in "advanced discussions" to resolve the ongoing investigations.

- check out Lilly's release
- read the story in the Wall Street Journal
- see more at Forbes
- here's the Wall Street Journal blog post