Eli Lilly to Pay $1.4B, Plead Guilty in Marketing Scheme
Company promoted drug for unapproved uses
By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 15, 2009 3:50 PM CST
Eli Lilly will plead guilty to a federal misdemeanor and pay over a billion dollars in fines after marketing a drug for unapproved uses.   (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)
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(Newser) – Eli Lilly will plead guilty to a federal misdemeanor and pay $1.42 billion to settle investigations into its marketing of an anti-schizophrenia drug, Reuters reports. The company promoted Zyprexa to the elderly as an anti-dementia pharmaceutical, though studies questioned its effectiveness in treating Alzheimer’s. “Eli Lilly had an army of 2,000 sales representatives engaged in nothing but off-label marketing,” a US attorney says.

The company will pay $615 million to settle a criminal probe and about $800 million to settle civil investigations, and will plead guilty to advertising the drug for unapproved conditions. In 1999-2001, Eli Lilly marketed Zyprexa to nursing homes and doctors, but schizophrenia is rare in the elderly and the drug can cause weight gain.