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Lilly settles Zyprexa suit with S. Carolina

October 7, 2009

Eli Lilly and Co. has agreed to settle the State of South Carolina’s lawsuit that claimed Lilly improperly marketed the antipsychotic drug Zyprexa, according to Bloomberg News.

The state had planned to ask for nearly $6 billion in damages, claiming that Indianapolis-based Lilly marketed Zyprexa for unapproved uses and failed to warn patients about side effects like weight gain.

“We have reached a tentative settlement with the state of South Carolina but the terms are confidential until it’s finalized,” Marni Lemons, a Lilly spokeswoman, told Bloomberg by phone Wednesday. She said she didn’t know when the settlement would be finished.

Zyprexa, which boasts $4.7 billion in annual sales, has cost Lilly lots of legal trouble, sparking thousands of patient lawsuits as well as investigations by federal and state governments.

In January, Lilly agreed to pay $1.42 billion to federal and state governments to resolve a lawsuit over Zyprexa marketing brought by the U.S. Justice Department. South Carolina did not join that settlement.

More than 30 states sued Lilly over Zyprexa. The only case that went to trial was in Alaska, which ended with a settlement that calls for Lilly to pay the state $15 million.
The agreement with South Carolina now leaves cases pending in Mississippi, Arkansas and Pennsylvania, Bloomberg said.

Lilly took a pretax charge of $102 million in the third quarter to pay for settlements with several states. On Sept. 29, the State of Connecticut announced a $25 million settlement of its Zyprexa case. In August, Lilly filed a $22.5 million settlement with West Virginia.
 

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