Eli Lilly Promoted Drug For Unapproved Use

Drugmaker Eli Lilly pushed physicians to prescribe Zyprexa, a drug for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, to patients having neither condition, NYT reports.

Documents provided to the NYT disclose a campaign promoting the drug using “patient profiles.” One profile was,

    “”Martha,” a widow with adult children “who lives independently and has been your patient for some time.” Martha was described as being agitated and having disturbed sleep, but without the symptoms of paranoia or mania that typically marked a person with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder…

    …Zyprexa is not approved to treat dementia or dementia-related psychosis, and in fact carries a prominent warning from the F.D.A. that it increases the risk of death in older patients with dementia-related psychosis.”

Zyprexa’s generic name is olanzapine. In a speech praising 16 reps for convincing doctors to write extra Zyprexa scrips, and thereby “maxed out on a pretty sweet incentive,” a Zyprexa brand manager said, “Olanzapine is the molecule that keeps on giving.”

— BEN POPKEN

Drug Files Show Maker Promoted Unapproved Use [NYT]