SACRAMENTO (CN) – Drug maker Eli Lilly has agreed to pay a record setting $63 million to state governments to settle charges of pushing an adult schizophrenia drug onto kids. “To market a drug for something it wasn’t approved for is to gamble with human health” said Dana Simas with the California Attorney General’s Office.
The settlement with 34 states announced last last week is the largest multi-state consumer-protection pharmaceutical settlement ever, according to the California Attorney General’s office, and comes as a result of the company’s advertising campaign for antipsychotic medication for non-approved use in high-doses and in pediatric care.
Eli Lilly manufactures Zyprexa, an antipsychotic drug typically used to treat adult schizophrenia. In 2001, the company began an aggressive marketing campaign, where it advertised Zyprexa for new uses not authorized by the Food and Drug Administration.
Apart from promoting high-doses and pediatric use, it marketed to elderly patients with dementia and to patients suffering from symptoms of schizophrenia instead of diagnosed conditions.
The states were concerned since Zyprexa can cause diabetes, weight gain, and hyperglycemia as side-effects.
The $63 million settlement includes penalties and attorney’s fees. Of that, California gets the largest sum of $5.6 million. Under the settlement, the company will hand some marketing staff responsibilities to its medical staff, as well as other things, to ensure its drugs are marketed according to regulations.
Eli Lilly will also increase transparency by providing lists of who it pays to promote its products.