Minot Daily News (North Dakota)
Medicaid reviews drug spending on mental health
March 21, 2008
By JILL SCHRAMM
North Dakota’s Medicaid program has begun a two-year study of a class of medicines that has raised concerns in several other states.
However, the state’s review of prescribing patterns for atypical anti-psychotics is focused on the high cost of the medicines rather than the prescription controversies that exist elsewhere.
Ten state Medicaid programs, including one in Montana, have filed lawsuits against drug maker Eli Lilly, alleging the company illegally promoted Zyprexa, an atypical anti-psychotic. The first case went to trial in Alaska this month.
Eli Lilly has been under federal investigation since 2004 for its methods of marketing Zyprexa to doctors for treating mild bipolar disorder and dementia in elderly patients. Use in elderly patients has been linked to deaths.
Brendan Joyce, pharmacist with North Dakota Medicaid, said attorneys in a class action case have notified the state that some North Dakota patients are included in a lawsuit against Eli Lilly. Should defendants win an award, the Medicaid program would share a portion as reimbursement of its prescription costs.