A California state court jury ruled late last week that Eli Lilly was not responsible for the death of a 20-year-old college student, who died from illnessess related to diabetes while taking the Zyprexa antipsychotic for mental illness. The family of Cody Tadai, who died in 2007, filed a lawsuit alleging the drugmaker hid the risks of developing diabetes, according toBloomberg News.
This was the first lawsuit to go to trial over the Zyprexa antipsychotic and claims that Lilly failed to sufficiently warn the pill may lead to diabetes. Lilly, you may recall, two years ago agreed to plead guilty and pay $1.4 billion in fines, including a $515 million penalty for a misdemeanor criminal charge, for off-label promotion.
Overall, Lilly has paid nearly $2.9 billion to resolve marketing claims, including $245 million to 13 states and about $1.2 billion to settle some 31,000 lawsuits filed by patients. The drugmaker still faces about 40 Zyprexa suits that include claims from about 110 former users of the drug, according to a recent filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (read page 19 here).
In the Tadai case, the Los Angeles Superior Court jury found Lilly adequately warned doctors and patients about Zyprexa risks and did not conceal info about side effects from the student’s doctors, according to the verdict form in the case, Bloomberg writes. His family alleged Lilly withheld info about side effects such as diabetes and weight gain, and encouraged off-label usage.
Their lawyers also argued Lilly trained its sales force to “neutralize” any questions or concerns about links to diabetes or weight gain. Randy Tadai, the student’s father, told Bloomberg the family filed the lawsuit to highlight the dangers associated with Zyprexa and, while he was disappointed with the verdict, the family would “have to accept the decision of the court.”
Lilly lawyers argued Tadai’s family had a history of diabetes and Zyprexa did not play a role in how the student developed the disease, Bloomberg writes, adding that they also sought to convince the jury the drugmaker properly warned about diabetes risks in 2003, the year Tadai began taking the pill.
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