Monday, December 18, 2006

Zyprexa: There's More

The marketing campaign for Zyprexa had a name -- Viva Diabetes. Oh, sorry, it was actually called Viva Zyprexa according to an article in the New York Times.

From the article: "In the campaign, called Viva Zyprexa, Lilly told its sales representatives to suggest that doctors prescribe Zyprexa to older patients with symptoms of dementia.

A Lilly executive said that she could not comment on specific documents but that the company had never promoted Zyprexa for off-label uses and that it always showed the marketing materials used by its sales representatives to the Food and Drug Administration, as required by law."

Oh, really? Lilly sales reps were given made-up case scenarios to use in conversations with physicians. One of the cases is described as: " 'Martha,' a widow with adult children “who lives independently and has been your patient for some time.” Martha was described as being agitated and having disturbed sleep, but without the symptoms of paranoia or mania that typically marked a person with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder." Gee, sound like dementia to anyone?

Never mind, of course, that atypical antipsychotics are linked to a higher rate of death in elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis.

In 2002, the marketing campaign's title was changed to "Zyprexa Limitless." It is unclear if the company was referring to limitless weight gain, limitless new cases of olanzapine-induced diabetes, or trying to pimp olanzapine for a limitless number of conditions.

Part of this campaign featured the use of a patient profile named "Donna" who appeared to possibly have symptoms of bipolar disorder, though it appears the symptoms are mild in severity. What a great way to expand the market -- if someone is irritable and not sleeping regularly, pop a Zyprexa -- the possibilities are "Limitless."

There's much more over at the New York Times. Also see my prior post about the first NYT article on the Zyprexa coverup.

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