December 18, 2006

Eli Lilly Said to Have Down-played Zyprexa Diabetes Risks

The New York Times reported this past weekend that

"Indianapolis-based drug maker Eli Lilly and Co. has engaged in a decadelong effort to downplay the health risks of Zyprexa, its best-selling medication for schizophrenia, according to hundreds of internal Lilly documents and e-mail messages among top managers. The documents, given to The New York Times by a lawyer representing mentally ill patients, show Lilly executives kept important information from doctors about Zyprexa's links to obesity and its tendency to raise blood sugar -- known risk factors for diabetes.

Lilly's own published data, which it told its sales representatives to play down, has shown that 30 percent of patients taking Zyprexa gain 22 pounds or more after a year. But Lilly was concerned that sales would be hurt if the company was more forthright about the fact that the drug might cause unmanageable weight gain or diabetes, according to the documents, which cover 1995 to 2004."

Read Full New York Times version of story:
Eli Lilly played down risk of Zyprexa - Company documents reveal schizophrenia drug linked to obesity (via

Eli Lilly Responded to the NY Times article in the following prepared news release: Statement from Eli Lilly and Company: Response to The New York Times Article from December 17, 2006

Note: The Eli Lilly Internal memos and documents are available for your download and viewing here.

Additional reading on this story


I gained 20 pounds in two weeks on Zyprexa.

Posted by: Uncle Sam at December 19, 2006 07:58 AM

That was not a bright move on their part. At all. Lilly is I think in financial trouble already, I think from a merger that didn't go well if I recall; this won't help their cause at all.

Thing is, the issue was very obvious regardless from the start. Alot of people don't gain weight on it and that's fine, about 2/3 don't (66%). However, those who do gain weight just simply switch to something else anyway, so why not share the documentation and look a lot better in the public eye? Dumb.

Posted by: slc2 at December 20, 2006 08:01 AM

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