Settlement amount: $1.4 billion
Year of settlement: 2009
Drugs involved: The atypical antipsychotic Zyprexa (olanzapine) and others
Criminal charges filed? Yes
Like several other manufacturers of second-generation antipsychotics, Eli Lilly marketed its drug for conditions and patients — including the elderly and young children — for which it had not been proven safe or effective. The company also did not appropriately divulge information on side effects, such as significant weight gain that can lead to chronic disease.
Moreover, Zyprexa’s side effect of profound sedation was reframed and promoted for use in the elderly as a sleeping aid. The company advised doctors to administer “5 at 5,” or 5 mg of the drug at 5 p.m., to put nursing home patients to sleep. Unlike cheap, generic sleeping pills, however, Zyprexa carries a risk of death, even at doses within the normal range.