Drug Maker Nailed with $1.415 Billion in Criminal Fine and Government Settlement

Drug Maker Nailed with $1.415 Billion in Criminal Fine and Government Settlement

Novus Medical Detox Center of Pasco County, Florida Director said that today’s announcement that Eli Lilly would pay the largest criminal fine in history and plead guilty to criminal charges related to its successful efforts to promote its anti-psychotic drug Zyprexa for uses beyond its FDA approval was not enough. “The government has today taken a necessary partial step toward curtailing the wanton disregard for human life and suffering evidenced by the action of many of the drug companies,” the Director said. “When you are dealing with a Methamphetamine problem, you go after the lab and you put the operators in jail. In this case they levied an apparently huge fine, but it is only 25% of Lilly's annual sales of Zyprexa and since Zyprexa has over $36 billion in sales since it was released in 1996, this fine really doesn't send the message that you should not do this. None of the executives responsible for harming or killing innocent and vulnerable people are going to jail. If you want to send the right message, don't take away a portion of their profits but put the responsible people in jail. Why should these criminals be treated any differently than those running the meth lab? They bathe regularly and wear suits but their crime produces the same tragedies in our society as the meth dealer.”

Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division Gregory G. Katsas and acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Laurie Magid today announced the filing of a criminal information against Eli Lilly for promoting Zyprexa for unapproved uses such as dementia and Alzheimers in elderly patients. The company has signed a plea agreement admitting its guilt to a misdemeanor criminal charge. Eli Lilly also signed a civil settlement to resolve civil claims that by marketing Zyprexa for unapproved uses, it caused false claims for payment to be submitted to federal insurance programs such as Medicaid, TRICARE and the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, none of which provided coverage for such off-label uses.

"Today's announcement of the filing of a criminal charge and the unprecedented terms of this settlement demonstrates the government's increasing efforts aimed at pharmaceutical companies that choose to put profits ahead of the public's health," said Special Agent-in-Charge Kim Rice of FDA's Office of Criminal Investigations. "The FDA will continue to devote resources to criminal investigations targeting pharmaceutical companies that disregard the safeguards of the drug approval process and recklessly promote drugs for uses for which they have not been proven to be safe and effective."

"This case should serve as still another warning to all those who break the law in order to improve their profits," said Patrick Doyle, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services in Philadelphia. "OIG, working with our law enforcement partners, will pursue and bring to justice those who would steal from vulnerable beneficiaries and the taxpayers."

the Director concluded: “This drug company specifically targeted the most vulnerable elements in the population, the elderly and the children. And did so despite evidence of diabetes and obesity as side effects. The efforts of whistleblowers, civil attorneys and law enforcement in stopping this carnage are to be applauded but, unfortunately, until some of these criminal activities result in jail sentences they will likely continue.”

For those whose lives are being ruined by prescription drug abuse or addiction, there are medical drug detox programs that can be used. Medical Detox is often a necessary step in dealing with addiction, abuse or dependence. While many medical drug detox programs take place in a hospital, Novus Medical Detox Center specializes in handling drug dependencies in a private setting that is stress-free, comfortable and safe. The facility, set on 3.2 wooded acres 45 minutes north of Tampa, FL, offers private rooms, TV and high speed internet access. Detoxification programs at Novus provide detox services for people wishing to withdraw from drugs including opiate detox, heroin detox, psychotropic detox, alcohol detox, benzodiazepine detox and prescription drug detox. They can be reached at

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