Record drug settlement reached

October 23, 2009 

South Carolina reached a record $45 million settlement Friday with drug maker Eli Lilly over its marketing of an anti-psychotic drug, Zyprexa.

State lawmakers will have the say on how nearly $38 million of the settlement is spent. The remainder of the money will go to attorneys who worked on the case and the state attorney general's office.

The S.C. Attorney General’s Office said the settlement is the second largest in state history, behind only the 1998 multi-billion dollar tobacco settlement with cigarette makers.

It also is the largest dollar amount any individual state has won from Eli Lilly. Connecticut is second with a $30 million settlement. South Carolina and other states have brought action against the drug maker claiming that it falsely marketed Zyprexa, a drug approved for the treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

In the lawsuit, South Carolina sought to recover the millions of dollars that Medicaid and the state health plan had paid for the drug and spent treating side effects of the drug. The suit alleges nearly 64,000 S.C. patients were affected from 1996 to 2007.

South Carolina and other states argued Eli Lilly:

-- Did not properly warn of the drug’s side effects, including heart problems, diabetes, hyperglycemia and an increased risk of death in patients with dementia.

-- Falsely marketed the drug to treat other illnesses, including depression and attention deficit disorder.

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