Lilly blasts N.Y. Times on Zyprexa charges

Dec. 18, 2006 at 1:18 PM
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INDIANAPOLIS, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- Eli Lilly & Co. Monday fired back against a New York Times article that claims the firm promoted schizophrenia drug Zyprexa for off-label use.

The Times article published over the weekend said Lilly has been touting Zyprexa for the unapproved indication to treat dementia in elderly patients.

However, the company released a statement Monday saying, "At Lilly, we do not engage in off-label promotion -- as alleged in The Times article. Lilly is committed to the highest ethical standards and to promoting our medications only for approved uses."

Lilly added, "We have clear guidelines and extensive training for our sales representatives to help assure that they provide appropriate promotional information that is within the scope of prescribing information approved by the FDA."

The Times also suggested Lilly may have tried to downplay Zyprexa's side effects of weight gain -- some patients on the drug say they ballooned up 100 pounds -- and diabetes. But Lilly said the Times relied on "selective documents illegally leaked by plaintiffs' lawyers" and that internal company practices were taken out of context.

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