Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Yet More Trouble for Newer Antipsychotics...

California's top law-enforcement official is investigating drug makers' marketing practices for blockbuster antipyschotic medications.

At least four pharmaceutical companies - AstraZeneca PLC (AZN), Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY), Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (BMY) and Pfizer Inc. (PFE) - have disclosed in recent days they received subpoenas from the California attorney general's office seeking information about their respective antipsychotics. The drugs are approved to treat bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

Eli Lilly, which makes Zyprexa, and AstraZeneca, maker of Seroquel, indicated that the subpoenas received in September sought information about their marketing practices for the antipsychotics, as well as the drugs' status on California's "formulary," or list of preferred drugs for a state insurance program.

Lilly of Indianapolis said in a regulatory filing Friday its subpoena was related to "our efforts to obtain and maintain Zyprexa's status on California's formulary." Also, Lilly said the subpoena concerned "remuneration of health care providers." Lilly spokesman Phil Belt said the company is cooperating with the request for information. AstraZeneca of the U.K. disclosed its subpoena in a document posted on its Web site last week…”


Newer antipsychotics have become big moneymakers for drug companies, with Zyprexa posting $4.2 billion in sales and Seroquel generating $2.76 billion last year. Abilify, a newer drug, posted sales of $912 million in 2005.

My View: Perhaps California has grown weary of paying ridiculous prices for medications that lead to signfiicant health problems such as diabetes without having any efficacy advantage over older antipsychotic meds. It would be nice if an antipsychotic was developed that lacked the heavy side effect burden of either the first or second generation meds.

Read the full story at MarketWatch here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is the kicker...Zyprexa is only FDA approved for schizophrenia (.5-1% of pop) and some bipolar (2% pop) and then an even smaller percentage of theses two groups.
So how the heck does Zyprexa get to be the 7th largest drug sale in the world?

Eli Lilly is in deep trouble for using their drug reps to 'encourage' doctors to write zyprexa for non-FDA approved 'off label' uses.
The drug causes increased diabetes risk,and medicare picks up all the expensive fallout.There are now 7 states (and counting) going after Lilly for fraud and restitution.
Daniel Haszard