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Eli Lilly: Strike 2
Dec 21, 2006, 10:42a

2 years ago, I reported that Eli Lilly nearly succeeded in buying a court verdict in a case where a patient on Prozac (an Eli Lilly drug) shot and killed 9 people, including himself. They also allegedly witheld information about Prozac's side effects, including increased aggression, from the FDA. They were later cleared of this second charge, but things still seemed a bit fishy to me.

So today, the NY Times reports that Eli Lilly witheld information about the blood-sugar risks of their best-selling drug, Zyprexa (generic name olanzopine). Zyprexa is used to treat schozophrenia, but company research found that it also increased blood-sugar levels substantially. 16% of patients taking Zyprexa for a year gained more than 66 pounds, which also increases the risk of developing diabetes. The critical fault here is that Eli Lilly did not disclose this data to the FDA, instead reporting that 30% of patients gained 22 pounds.

Zyprexa accounts for 30% of Eli Lilly's revenues ($4.2B), and is used by 2M people worldwide to treat hallucinations and delusions associated with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

This is the 2nd time I've seen Eli Lilly put company profits ahead of the welfare and health of its customers. It's disgusting and unacceptable - lying to an organization whose purpose is to ensure public safety is despicable.

Prozac is also in the midst of a new controversy, where it's been found to increase risk of suicide in children. However, new information suggests that people up to 25 may also be at risk.

Given this pattern of events, I predict that
  1. Prozac will no longer be on the market in 5 years, due to concerns around its side-effects
  2. Individuals within the FDA will be found negligent, and there will be calls to rid corporate corruption and influence from the FDA
  3. More of Eli Lilly's drugs (listed below) will become mired in controversy
If you know anyone taking any of these Eli Lilly drugs, I'd suggest investigating alternatives:
  • Alimta, a chemotherapy regimen to treat patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma who are not candidates for surgery
  • Symbyax, for bipolar depression
  • Cialis, for erectile dysfunction
  • Stratterra, a nonstimulant, noncontrolled medication for the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in children, adolescents, and adults
  • Forteo, for osteoporosis patients that stimulates new bone formation
  • Xigris, for adult severe-sepsis patients at a high risk of death
  • Evista, for the prevention and treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis
  • Zyprexa, for schizophrenia and acute mania associated with bipolar disorder
  • Humalog, an insulin product
  • Gemzar, for pancreatic and non-small-cell lung cancer
  • Humatrope, therapy for growth hormone deficiency
  • Prozac
  • Humulin, human insulin
  • Ceclor, an oral antibiotic
  • Iletin, an insulin product, available since 1923
(from Eli Lilly's website)

Read comments (1) - Comment

Daniel Haszard - Dec 27, 2006, 1:05p

At a glance,zyprexa was promoted 'off label' to uses that weren't FDA approved.This opens up a can of worms for patients like myself took it for PTSD for which it was ineffective and moreover gave me diabetes.

True,leaked documents don't convey the 'whole picture' but what is compelling is that zyprexa is the 7th some say 5th largest drug sell in the world and Eli Lilly's #1 drug sale by their own admission.
This is for a drug that won't get you "high" cost $2.50 a pill and only indicated for less than 1% of the population.

Hello! Somebody in Lilly land is pushing zyprexa hard-Daniel Haszard

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