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On Thursday, Eli Lilly and Co. said it entered into settlement agreements with 14 groups that were involved in Zyprexa liability lawsuits and will take a fourth-quarter charge up to $500 million related to the litigation.

The settlements resolve the majority of remaining product liability claims brought against Eli Lilly relating to the medication that is used in the United States for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

The claims are mainly related to Zyprexa causing weight gain that led to diabetes. Plaintiffs claim that before September 2003, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration required label changes of Zyprexa and other anti-psychotics related to weight gain information and about the potential risk of diabetes was not made clearly.

These settlements include federal and state product liability lawsuits that have been brought against Lilly, claims that were the subject of “tolling agreements” that extended the deadline for potential claimants to file a lawsuit, and other unfiled claims.

The agreements will result in the dismissal of claims against health care professionals named as co-defendants in cases relating to the prescription of Zyprexa covered by the settlement.

Lilly said it was not sure how many claimants were covered by the settlement but it estimated the number at more than 18,000, representing the vast majority of existing Zyprexa product liability litigation.

Lilly, a maker of drugs that are used to treat depression, diabetes, cancer and sexual dysfunction, said it is not disclosing the settlement agreement terms. But it said the amount to be paid for more than 18,000 claims in these settlements is considerably less then the $700 million paid for more than 8,000 claims in the June 2005 settlement.

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