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Wall Street Journal Questions Safety of Lilly Drug

Apr 11, 2003 |

It brought in nearly $1 billion in sales last year. Zyprexa, Eli Lilly and Company's blockbuster treatment for schizophrenia is under growing questions about a potentially serious side effect.

The front page of the Wall Street Journal raises the question, does Zyprexa and other drugs like it cause diabetes?

It's estimated that 11 million people have taken Zyprexa.

The article states that one eight-year study found nearly 300 patients developed diabetes, 75 became seriously ill and 23 died.

The Food and Drug Administration says it hasn't decided whether Zyprexa is responsible for the illnesses and deaths.

Lilly says the evidence so far is inconclusive.

What is clear is Zyprexa's success in treating schizophrenia.

A year ago, Lilly invited Katherine Clark to the annual shareholders meeting to talk about the benefits of Zyprexa.

There is little question about the benefits of Zyprexa for those with schizophrenia.

What is unclear is what the latest questions will mean for sales of Zyprexa, which makes up nearly 40% of the company's U.S. sales.

In response to the article, Eli Lilly released a statement saying it is "extremely disappointed" with the article and that it "contributes nothing to a serious, scientific discussion of antipsychotics and diabetes."

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