|Updated: 2/16/2010 7:15 pm
||Published: 2/16/2010 3:27 pm
The State of Arkansas settled its largest pharmaceutical lawsuit in state history. The suit was reached against pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly for $18.5. The settlement was reached over the anti-psychotic drug Zyprexa.
"It was never intended for children," said Attorney General Dustin McDaniel. "There are major side effects. They knew about it and they concealed it. They didn't care; it was a raging war towards profits."
And that's why McDaniel took the company to court. In his suit, McDaniel alleged that Eli Lilly improperly marketed the drug for the use in children. "There's no question, Eli Lilly put profits above the lives of our people," said McDaniel.
The side effects of Zyprexa are severe and in many cases permanent. "Children who were given the drug gained weight uncontrollably, sometimes 100 pounds. The long term risks are things like diabetes," says McDaniels.
The bulk of the multi-million dollar settlement will repay state Medicaid for spending on Zyprexa prescriptions that never should have been written. The $15 million that goes into the state Medicaid fund is will be matched federally. The fund will get a total of $60 million.
Zyprexa is Eli Lilly's best selling product. In 2008, sales topped $4.7 billion. Two million people worldwide take Zyprexa, which was introduced in 1996. Eli Lilly did not return our calls.
In addition to being marketed to children, the suit says Zyprexa was improperly marketed to elderly dementia patients.