States settle Zyprexa claims for $62M

While Eli Lilly wraps up its deal for ImClone Systems, it's also chipping away at its potential Zyprexa liabilities. The company agreed to pay $62 million to 32 states to settle an investigation into improper marketing of the atypical antipsychotic. The deal is on tap for announcement today, according to the Indianapolis Star, and it's the largest-ever multi-state consumer protection action against a drug company.

As you know, the states had accused Lilly of marketing Zyprexa in violation of state consumer protection laws. According to state watchdogs, Lilly promoted Zyprexa for uses not approved by the FDA, including use by children and by elderly patients with dementia. In addition to the monetary settlement, Lilly has agreed to abide by "ethical marketing practices" for six years; one of those provisions requires medical staff to write promo letters for doctors, rather than marketing staff.

This $62 million settlement is dwarfed in comparison with previous Zyprexa deals, including a $1 billion resolution of several thousand patient-safety claims. And billions more may be to come: A federal judge recommended that Lilly settle similar safety claims from patients worldwide, who are seeking up to $7.7 billion in damages.

- read the Indy Star's story