Eli Lilly and federal prosecutors are discussing a settlement of a civil and criminal investigation into the company’s marketing of the antipsychotic drug Zyprexa that could result in Lilly’s paying more than $1 billion to federal and state governments.
If a deal is reached, the fine would be the largest ever paid by a drug company for breaking the federal laws that govern how drug makers can promote their medicines.
Several people involved in the investigation confirmed the settlement discussions. They insisted on anonymity because they have not been authorized to talk about the negotiations.
Zyprexa has serious side effects and is approved only to treat people with schizophrenia and severe bipolar disorder. But documents from Lilly show that between 2000 and 2003, Lilly encouraged doctors to prescribe Zyprexa to people with age-related dementia, as well as people with mild bipolar disorder who had previously been diagnosed only as depressed.