Eli Lilly facing civil probe into drug marketing

INDIANAPOLIS: Eli Lilly last week confirmed that it was under investigation by US prosecutors over marketing activities for some of its top-selling drugs.

The Indianapolis-based drugs giant, already being investigated for the way it has promoted its osteoporosis drug Evista, said it believed the new probe would also examine its PR work for top-selling schizophrenia treatment Zyprexa and former blockbuster anti-depressant Prozac.

Lilly confirmed that the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania had kicked off a civil investigation. The company said that an ‘adverse outcome could have a material adverse impact on the company’s consolidated financial position’.

The previously disclosed investigation of Evista by the US Office of Consumer Litigation began in 2002 after a competitor complained that Lilly was improperly marketing the drug as a breast-cancer preventative – a use for which it did not have US Food and Drug Administration approval.

Early last month, Pennsylvania’s state attorney general filed a lawsuit against 13 drugs firms – Lilly was not among them – and accused them of inflating the prices of their products.

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