Monday, June 13, 2005

Early Zyprexa settlement announced

An unusually early settlement with Eli Lilly and Co. on made the rounds late last week, as 8,000 claims of damages over the company's Zyprexa were resolved.

The $690 million settlement came after only five plaintiffs had given depositions in the mass litigation and before any substantive depositions had been taken from Lilly executives or scientists. The first trial from the hundreds of lawsuits was at least six months off.Seven months of talks led to the proposed settlement.

Zyprexa is Lilly's most important product, generating $4.4 billion, or one third, of Lilly's sales last year. It treats schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, but is also prescribed by doctors for a host of other ailments.Lilly has estimated that 75 percent of the claims against Zyprexa that it knows of fall under the proposed settlement.

Lilly says it will fight any additional claims that aren't part of the proposed settlement, which 12 law firms signed.

Lilly's legal liability to claims from new patients is less now, compared to a few years ago, because the company in March 2004 sent a letter to doctors warning that Zyprexa could cause the diabetes-related problems that are at issue in the proposed settlement.

This report comes from various sources, including Newsday and AP.