Judge: No beef in Zyprexa expert’s testimony-WEB ONLY

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Dr. Hamburger can no longer blame Zyprexa for making you fat.

At least he can’t as part of lawsuits brought by patients against Zyprexa’s maker, Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. Zyprexa treats schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Federal Judge Jack B. Weinstein in Brooklyn, N.Y., yesterday decided to exclude the expert testimony of Dr. Stephen Hamburger, a diabetes doctor in Birmingham, Ala., according to Bloomberg News.

Hamburger has testified in 20 cases, saying that Zyprexa causes weight gain and diabetes in many patients who take it. Weinstein did not rule out that conclusion in his decision issued yesterday. But the judge ripped Hamburger for “a fast and loose application of his scientific theories to the facts.”

“He repeatedly and impermissibly stretched the truth to support findings of causality,” Weinstein added.

Weinstein’s decision is a win for Lilly, which is trying to fend off 140 lawsuits still pending about Zyprexa. Lilly has already committed to spending $1.2 billion to settle nearly 33,000 patient cases.

Lilly also faces lawsuits by insurance companies and other health plans for marketing Zyprexa for unapproved uses. Lilly pleaded guilty in January to doing just that from 1999 to 2001. It paid a criminal fine of $615 million.

After Weinstein’s ruling, Don Ledgard, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, told Bloomberg, “We’re obviously disappointed and are considering our options for an appeal.”

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