california’s top law-enforcement official is investigating drug makers’ marketing practices for blockbuster antipsychotic medications.
at least four pharmaceutical companies – AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Pfizer Inc 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. bristol-myers “has received a subpoena seeking documents in connection with” abilify, their antipsychotic. Pfizer also has received a subpoena seeking information about the geodon antipsychotic.
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.
as stated here before, these drugs have faced scrutiny over their effectiveness and safety.
several are linked to severe weight gain and higher blood sugar. diabetes. suicides. last year, Lilly established a $690 million fund to settle lawsuits that generally alleged zyprexa led to diabetes or related problems in people taking the drug.
this should get interesting, more later…