CALIFORNIA AG ISSUES MORE SUBPOENAS OVER ANTIPSYCHOTIC DRUG MARKETING
Eli Lilly, Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) have joined AstraZeneca as targets of subpoenas from the California Office of the Attorney General (AG) over marketing practices for top-selling antipsychotic drugs.
The Eli Lilly subpoena is for documents relating to its marketing and promotional practices for Zyprexa (olanzapine), which is used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, as well as the company's efforts to obtain and maintain the drug's status on California's formulary and its remuneration of healthcare providers.
Eli Lilly spokesman Phil Belt said the company is cooperating with the request and is not adding anything else to its announcement, which was in the quarterly "10-Q" disclosure required by the SEC.
The company also said in the 10-Q that it continues to be a defendant in many Zyprexa product liability lawsuits, the majority of which allege that the drug caused or contributed to diabetes or high blood-glucose levels. Almost all of the federal lawsuits are part of a "multi-district litigation" before Judge Jack Weinstein in the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of New York. For just the third quarter of 2006, Eli Lilly's worldwide revenue from Zyprexa totaled $1.09 billion.
A Pfizer spokesman confirmed that the company received a subpoena Sept. 8 from the California attorney general's office concerning Geodon (ziprasidone HCl and ziprasidone mesylate), which is used to treat schizophrenia and acute manic or mixed episodes associated with bipolar disorder. The company is "cooperating fully," said the spokesman, who declined to elaborate. Pfizer said it expects to make $800 million from sales of the drug in 2006.
BMS also received a subpoena, this one seeking documents in connection with Abilify (aripiprazole), used to treat schizophrenia and related psychiatric disorders, and is cooperating with the investigation, company spokesman Craig Stoltz said. Sales of this drug were $313 million in the third quarter of 2006, compared with $260 million in the corresponding period of last year, the company said.
In AstraZeneca's case, the company received subpoenas from the attorneys general of both California and Alaska seeking information about its marketing practices for Seroquel (quetiapine fumarate), which is used to treat patients with depressive episodes associated with bipolar disorder. In addition, the SEC has made an "informal inquiry" to the company regarding payments to foreign doctors and government officials, the company said.
The California Office of the Attorney General confirmed that AstraZeneca and Eli Lilly had been subpoenaed. Spokesman Tom Dresslar said he could confirm the companies' descriptions of the subpoenas, but he could not confirm the Pfizer and BMS subpoenas or add any further information. (http://www.fdanews.com/did/5_218/)