Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Lilly Lawyer Accidentally Leaks Settlement Talks


Talk about comical. The news last week that the drugmaker is negotiating with federal and state prosecutors over improper marketing of Zyprexa was the result of an accident, according to Portfolio. But it was a big accident.

As it turns out, a lawyer at Pepper Hamilton, one of two high-priced law firms negotiating the deal with the government, mistakenly sent an e-mail containing a comprehensive and confidential document to a reporter at The New York Times. How could that have happened? The reporter, Alex Berenson, has the same last name as another lawyer who was supposed to have received the e-mail, Bradford Berenson, who works at Sidley Austin.

Of course, this is embarassing for the law firm, which is being paid who-knows-how-much to get Lilly the best deal possible, and keep quiet about the details until the package is wrapped and the bow is placed on top. And this is infuriating for Lilly, which wants to carefully manage the message sent to investors, doctors and a slew of others who will hinge on every word concerning any settlement.

But it’s great luck for Berenson - the reporter, that is - because he got a scoop (which amounts to a poke in the eye for Lilly, since he’s the same reporter who was leaked sealed court documents last year and called ‘reprehensible‘ by a federal judge).

Not surprisingly, Lilly assumed the leak came from someone on the government side, Portfolio writes. The US Attorney in Philadelphia, which is leading the talks, declined to comment to the mag, as did Berenson (the reporter). Lilly would only say Pepper Hamilton is still retained. There was no word on how often the unnamed lawyer who caused this gaffe had communicated previously with Berenson - the reporter, not the lawyer.

[AboveTheLaw says they’re cousins. In any event, correctly identify which Berenson is which and win a free subscription to Pharmalot. As a personal aside, we look forward to drugmakers hiring attorneys named Silverman.]

Hat tip to Starkman blog

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