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Eli Lilly Suppressed and Minimized Health Risk of Zyprexa December 17, 2006

Posted by publicpolitics in Health and Science Policy.
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The drug maker Eli Lilly has engaged in a decade-long effort to play down the health risks of Zyprexa, its best-selling medication for schizophrenia, according to hundreds of internal Lilly documents and e-mail messages among top company managers.

Alec Berenson, NYT

Back in the mid 90’s Zyprexa was billed as a wonder drug for schizophrenia, one that would diminish if not eliminate the tics and tremors associated with others, and that was not associated with tardive dykinesia, a movement disorder frequently associated with antipsychotic medications. According to the NYT , reports of Zyprexa associated weight gain and drug induced development of hyperglycemia ( high blood sugar) began to be discussed in company emails in 1999.

Lilly refused to supply diabetes teaching aids to physicians because the company did not want to strengthen the association of diabetes and Zyprexa in the minds of physicians. Perhaps the most cynical move by the company was to develop an intensive marketing campaign for primary care physicians. Lilly’s own research had shown that these doctors were less aware than were specialists of the drug’s ability to cause weight gain and contribute to the onset of diabetes in the mentally ill. By the time Lilly decided to be more forthcoming about side effects, the evidence linking Zyprexa to untoward weight gain was too clear to ignore. Although the company will probably pat itself on the back for taking some steps toward mitigation and education, those should be viewed for exactly what they were.

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Comments»

1. Mark - April 17, 2007

Thank You


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