Thursday, July 1, 2010

Class action settlement in drug for schizophrenia


An article published in the June 30th edition of The Toronto Star:
Some users of antipsychotic drug say they were not warned of risk of diabetes

By Theresa Boyle, Health Reporter

Canadian courts have approved a $17.6 million settlement in a class-action lawsuit launched by individuals who became diabetic after taking an antipsychotic drug.

The settlement with Eli Lilly, manufacturer of Zyprexa, was announced Wednesday. It stems from allegations that the drug giant failed to warn about risks of severe weight gain, diabetes, hyperglycemia and pancreatitis.

Zyprexa is used for treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Eli Lilly denies any wrongdoing and the allegations have not been proved in court.

“While we believe the allegations are without merit, Lilly is taking this difficult step because we believe it is in the best interest of the company as well as the Canadian health care professionals who depend on this important medication,” John Rudolph, legal counsel for Eli Lilly, said in a written statement.

The drug continues to be used, but changes have since been made to its label to include warnings of diabetes.

The class action was filed on behalf of 11 people from Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec and approved by the superior courts of those provinces.

“We acknowledge that Eli Lilly has done the right thing,” said Harvin Pitch, counsel for Stevensons LLP, which represented some of the plaintiffs. “We encourage all users of Zyprexa who qualify to apply for their benefits.”

To receive a settlement payment, an individual must have started taking the drug prior to June 6, 2007 and then been diagnosed with diabetes, hyperglycemia, ketoacidosis or pancreatitis. The size of each payment will depend upon severity of illness and the total number of approved claims.

The settlement was based on an estimate that there would be 1,450 claims, though it is possible that the actual number may be higher, Pitch said.

The total number of prescriptions filled in 2009 in Canadian retail pharmacies for Zyprexa and its generic equivalents was 2,493,081. It is the third most prescribed antipsychotic on the Canadian market.

Further information is available at classaction.ca, from lawyer Daniel McConville at Stevensons LLP: (866) 940-8329, or from lawyer Matthew Baer at Siskinds LLP: (800) 461-6166 x 7782.

Note:

The claims deadline is October 28th, 2010.

Also see:

Notice of Settlement Approval (long version) [PDF Document]

Claim form [PDF Document]

Press Release – June 30, 2010 [PDF Document]

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