Drug maker Eli Lilly & Company agreed Thursday to pay federal and state governments more than $1.4 billion for its improper off-label marketing of Zyprexa, a popular schizophrenia medicine. Lilly will pay $800 million to settle civil charges, while $515 million will be paid as part of a guilty plea to a misdemeanor violation of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. The Department of Justice called it the largest corporate criminal fine in history.
The pharmaceutical giant marketed the drug to treat disruptive children and Alzheimer's disease in seniors, even though the Food and Drug Administration only approved Zyprexa for schizophrenia and a certain type of bipolar disorder. In fact, the medicine caused increased risk for heart failure and pneumonia in seniors and weight gain and diabetes in children.