Saturday, January 17, 2009

Lily must pay up: pharma and illegal drug promotion

I first came to understand the link between the responsibility of pharma to closely follow FDA marketed drug regulations and related pharmaceutical company lawsuits with the landmark Merck settlements. The Vioxx claims of increased cardiac events in patients and the cover-up of data implicating these conditions reminded me of the power pharmaceutical companies have affect the lives of millions of people. For me, that opened up a whole world of knowledge of the area of pharmaceutical litigations, especially with the rising number of lawsuits dealing with illegal drug promotions. Bristol-Myers Squibb had to pay $389 million for illegal promotion of the use of Abilify (aripiprazole) to children. Purdue Frederick had to pay $700 million in connection with the resolution of charges on the promoting of the opioid analgesic, OxyContin, which opium-related side effects were not delved. And now Lily must pay over $1.4 billion across various states in the US, the highest sum for any case perpetuated by a whistle-blower, for the illegal promotion and the use of schemes to increase the number of prescriptions of the drug Zyprexa to vulnerable populations.

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