Two Albertans who took the antipsychotic drug Zyprexa and then developed diabetes have launched a lawsuit against drug giant Eli Lilly & Co. A third person the spouse of a man who claims he developed diabetes after taking the drug is also named as a plaintiff in the lawsuit.
The suit alleges the company, which makes and distributes Zyprexa, knew about complications with the drugs and failed to warn patients and physicians.
Zyprexa is used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, anorexia and Alzheimer’s.
The suit is seeking $900 million in damages.
“This is a serious problem, because Zyprexa is still on the market,” said the plaintiffs’ lawyer.
“The British and Japanese had serious problems with it, and it’s quite (strange) as to why it hasn’t been taken seriously here.”
According to the suit, the Japanese Ministry of Health issued a safety alert about the drug’s links to diabetes in 2002, and contraindicated the drug for use in patients with diabetes or a history of diabetes.
The suit also claims that Britain ordered Eli Lilly to revise its Zyprexa package to include information about 40 cases of hyperglycemic abnormalities associated with the drug.
“There is no what I would call ‘black box’ warning given to doctors about this drug,” the plantiffs lawyer said. “The maker still hasn’t seen enough.”
The suit also lists several studies which have linked Zyprexa to diabetes and diabetes-related diseases.
The action has yet to be certified as a class action suit. Similar actions have been launched in Ontario, B.C. and Quebec.