Life Sciences

Documents unsealed in Lilly class action suit

Pharma Compliance Alert, September 10, 2008

Eli Lilly may have a tougher time defending its marketing for its antipsychotic Zyprexa after a judge unsealed confidential company documents, according to a New York Times article.

Federal District Court Judge Jack B. Weinstein granted a suit by insurance companies, pension funds, and unions class action status and unsealed documents Lilly produced in response to a related lawsuit filed by patients. Lilly is accused of marketing Zyprexa for off-label uses and downplaying the potential side effects of the drug.

The documents were initially leaked in 2006 by a Times reporter, who used them to write a front page article about the link between Zyprexa and weight gain and diabetes. At the time, Weinstein issued a ruling saying the reporter, a physician, and the physician’s lawyer had engaged in a conspiracy. Weinstein said the papers were Lilly’s property and should be returned to the company.

Since then, various parties petitioned for copies of the documents. Some of the documents were entered into open court proceedings in Alaska, and some have been posted online.

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