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Jury Finds Eli Lilly Not Responsible for Zyprexa User's Death

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on November 16, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The first Zyprexa verdict is in, and Eli Lilly is not liable.

The family of Cody Tadai had sued the company in Los Angeles Superior Court after he died of diabetes-related illnesses. They claimed that Eli Lilly failed to adequately warn patients and doctors about such risks.

But the jury found that the company had met its duty to warn, and is thus not liable for Tadai's death.

It's necessary to note that Tadai began taking Zyprexa in 2003 to treat mental illness. Eli Lilly notified doctors and patients of the drug's diabetes risks in September of that year. Arguably, Tadai made an informed decision to continue using Zyprexa.

This may be why Lilly chose this case to be the first to go to trial. A number of other lawsuits, including those covered by a $500 million consumer settlement, involved patients who took Zyprexa prior to the announcement.

Litigation over the drug has spanned 8 years, and has involved approximately $2.9 billion in settlements. In 2009, Eli Lilly paid $1.42 billion to settle federal off-label marketing allegations. The year before, the company spent $62 million to settle similar claims with 32 states.

Still, about 40 lawsuits remain, according to Bloomberg. They, too, argue that Lilly failed to warn consumers that Zyprexa had been tied to increased weight gain and a risk of developing diabetes and hyperglycemia.

It's unclear whether Eli Lilly plans to settle those cases or take them to trial. But last week's Zyprexa verdict might push them in the latter direction.

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