Eli Lilly Responds to NY Times on DownPlaying Risk of Drugs
Eli Lilly Responds to the report of downplaying Zyprexa risk
Eli Lilly and Company in a response to a story about Zyprexa in the December 17, 2006 edition of the New York Times, adds important facts and perspectives that were not evident in the story.
Said Steven Paul, M.D., Lilly's executive vice president of science and technology, "We believe it is critical to physicians and patients that Lilly state some important and relevant facts about our lifesaving medication Zyprexa that are missing from the New York Times article:
"First, contrary to incorrect statements in the Times article, Lilly has conducted more than 23 years of research on Zyprexa. And in the last ten years that the drug has been on the market, Lilly, government bodies such as the National Institute of Mental Health, and competitors -- in numerous studies that sought to show a causal link to Zyprexa and diabetes -- have not found that Zyprexa causes diabetes.
"Second, Zyprexa was approved by the FDA in 1996 and remains on the market today. In that time, it has been used by more than 20 million people worldwide, and doctors continue to prescribe it to deal with some of the most terrible mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The FDA has looked at the entire body of evidence that Lilly has continued to provide over the years, and has affirmed the benefit that this medicine can give to patients when accompanied by appropriate labeling regarding benefits and risks.
"Third, from the day that Zyprexa was approved, the labeling provided to physicians identified the potentially clinically-significant weight gain that was observed in more than half of all patients treated long-term with Zyprexa, as well as the diabetes-related adverse events observed in clinical trials.
"Fourth, the Times failed to mention that these leaked documents are a tiny fraction of the more than 11 million pages of documents provided by Lilly as part of the litigation process. They do not accurately portray Lilly's conduct. As part of Lilly's commitment to patients and healthcare professionals, many high-level Lilly physicians and researchers -- along with researchers from outside Lilly - were engaged for a number of years to study the issue of Zyprexa and diabetes. Leaked documents involving these discussions do not represent an accurate view of company strategy.
"And, finally, Lilly deplores the illegal release of select confidential documents. Our concern is that this illegal and selective disclosure of incomplete information will cause unwarranted concern among patients that may cause them to stop taking their medication without consulting a physician. This is the unfortunate result we saw when plaintiffs' lawyers aggressively advertised about Zyprexa in recent years while searching for clients."
Lilly, a leading innovation-driven corporation, is developing a growing portfolio of first-in-class and best-in-class pharmaceutical products by applying the latest research from its own worldwide laboratories and from collaborations with eminent scientific organizations. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind., Lilly provides answers - through medicines and information - for some of the world's most urgent medical needs. Additional information about Lilly is available at www.lilly.com