For several weeks, the state of Alaska has been battling the maker of Zyprexa, Lilly, for Medicaid bills incurred when patients taking the drug for Schizophrenia developed diabetes. The NY Times reported on Friday that the $15 million is only “a fraction of the hundreds of millions of dollars in damages that Ed Sniffen, Alaska’s senior assistant attorney general, had said the state was seeking when the trial opened three weeks ago”. According to the NY Times article, several documents presented in the trial showed that Lilly knew about the drug’s side effects, but did not express them to doctors or the general public. In fact, Lilly promoted more widespread use of the drug, encouraging doctors to prescribe the drugs for other illnesses such as Alzheimer’s.
To spite the positive benefits to Alaska’s bottom line, it’s definitely not a win for the rest of us. The fact that Lilly didn’t admit fault for not disclosing the drugs possible side effects from doctors and patients raises a bigger issue. Should pharmaceutical companies have to let the public know about any possible side effects no matter how small they believe the chance of a patient developing them?
I believe a person should know all the risks, however small, so that they can make an informed decision. Also, their doctor should know all the risks too, in order to advocate for the patient’s best interests. Otherwise, what’s to stop companies from even completing adequate testing to ensure a drug’s safety, if they are not going to disclose such information to the public.
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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Mar 2008
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.
Bechdel, J. (2008). Alaska settles for $15 million from Lilly in Zyprexa suit. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 18, 2013, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2008/03/30/alaska-settles-for-15-million-from-lilly-in-zyprexa-suit/