For the past few years, there has been some controversy about the drug Zyprexa. What we all know is that Zyprexa is an "atypical" neuroleptic (also known as an "anti-psychotic"), approved to treat schizophrenia and acute mania. At about $2.50/pill, it is a big money maker for Eli Lilly, somewhere on the order of $4 Billion a year. By themselves, these facts are not controversial.
However, it seems that some internal memos indicate that Eli Lilly knew that the drug raised the risk of diabetes in patients and didn't act appropriately. They may have even misreported clinical trial data about blood-sugar risks to doctors. There is currently a class action lawsuit underway to hold Lilly accountable. These memos indicate that Lilly initiated an internal marketing campaign to willfully downplay these deleterious effects.
There may be other risks that the company knew about but was hiding.
Incidentally, Lilly's second most profitable drugs treat diabetes.
Furthermore, Lilly has been training sales reps to instruct general practitioners to prescribe Zyprexa, off label, to elderly patients exhibiting general symptoms of dementia. These drugs are dangerous enough in the hands of specialists - general practitioners should not be trained by salespeople to prescribe such potent and dangerous psychopharmaceuticals. Lilly called this marketing initiative Viva Zyprexa, from which we have taken our satirical name for this campaign - Zyprexa Kills.
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