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As we previously discussed regarding Eli Lilly's $1.42 Billion Zyprexa settlement, major pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly has faced a host of suits over its marketing tactics for the drug Zyprexa. Last week Utah Attorney General, Mark Shurtleff, announced that state's settlement of the drug lawsuit with Lily, for $24 million.
Shurtleff feels this was a big win for the state, not only in terms of the money, but because the he wanted Lilly's "bad conduct to stop." According to Utah's four year investigation, 1,769 patients over the age of 65 received the drug with out the appropriate diagnosis.
Utah, like 13 other states, choose to go it alone in its suit against the drug company instead of joining the 32 state group who's suit against Lilly ended in a $62 million dollar settlement last year. The group suit, like the Utah case, centered around Lilly's aggressive marketing of the drug for off-label uses for dementia, Alzheimer's, agitation, aggression, hostility, depression and generalized sleep disorder. The FDA has not approved the drug for treating these conditions.
The settlement money will be useful for Utah which, like so many other states, is struggling with a huge budget shortfall. "There are plenty of opportunities and critical needs for this money," House Speaker David Clark, R-Santa Clara, said as he accepted a faux $24 million check from Shurtleff.
In the Utah Attorney General's News Release, Robert Steed, Assistant Attorney General and Director of the Utah Medicaid Fraud Control Unit said, "Today's announcement should send a clear message that those who would put corporate profits ahead of patient safety will be held accountable."