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.