Pharmaceutical company promoted unapproved use of drugs

In a follow up to a recent post about Eli Lilly’s techniques of “playing down” the health risks associated with its Zyprexa drug, it appears that Eli Lilly also promoted unapproved use of the drug to physicians.

The pharmaceutical company’s files showed that Eli Lilly encouraged physicians to use Zyprexa for patients who did not have either of the conditions that it primarily treats (schizophrenia and bipolar disorder). In the marketing campaign, called Viva Zyprexa, Lilly told its sales representatives to suggest that doctors prescribe the drug to older patients with symptoms of dementia. This sort of elder abuse is particularly worrisome because adverse drug reactions are between the 4th and 6th leading causes of death for individuals 65 and older in the United States.

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