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Zyprexa appeal rejected by Supreme Court

June 27, 2011

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to revive a bid to press a class-action suit against Eli Lilly and Co. over the marketing of Zyprexa, the company’s schizophrenia treatment.

The justices on Monday turned away an appeal by pension funds, unions and insurers that claim they spent more for the drug than it was worth. The plaintiffs say Lilly violated a federal racketeering law by making fraudulent claims about Zyprexa’s safety and effectiveness, and promoting it for non-approved uses.

The group was seeking $6.8 billion on behalf of thousands of so-called third-party payors. A federal appeals court said the case wasn’t appropriate for class-action status and told a trial judge to consider whether the plaintiffs filing the suit could press their individual claims.

Indianapolis-based Lilly in 2009 pleaded guilty to promoting Zyprexa for unapproved uses and agreed to pay $1.4 billion in criminal and civil penalties. Zyprexa is its top-selling drug, with about $5 billion in annual sales.

Zyprexa will lose patent protection in October, costing Lilly most of those sales to cheaper generic copies.

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