March 8, 2010
Eli Lilly and Co. has agreed to add four new senior positions to “promote highly ethical and compliant behaviors” as part of a settlement of two lawsuits arising from the company’s illegal marketing and promotion of several drugs.
The Indianapolis drugmaker also has agreed to upgrade its policies and procedures to ensure that patient safety “shall be of paramount importance,” according to a government filing the company made today.
Last year, Lilly paid $1.4 billion, the largest criminal fine ever imposed on a U.S. corporation, over the illegal marketing of Zyprexa. The company also pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and agreed to additional oversight to resolve a 5-year-old federal investigation.
Federal prosecutors had said Lilly unlawfully promoted Zyprexa for agitation, aggression, hostility, dementia, depression and generalized sleep disorder, although the drug was approved only for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
The company had also improperly marketed Evista, its osteoporosis drug, and Prozac, its antidepressant.
In response, several shareholders sued the company, claiming it breached fiduciary duty in connection with the illegal marketing, exposing Lilly to substantial risk of damage. The suits are known as “derivative claims” as they were brought by shareholders on behalf of the company, rather than on behalf of shareholders, seeking to force the company to take corrective steps.