Pharmaceuticals Anonymous

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Lilly ‘Ghostwrote’ Articles to Market Drug, Files Say (Update2)

By Elizabeth Lopatto, Jef Feeley and Margaret Cronin Fisk

June 11 (Bloomberg) -- Eli Lilly & Co. officials wrote medical journal studies about the antipsychotic Zyprexa and then asked doctors to put their names on the articles, a practice called “ghostwriting,” according to unsealed company files.

Lilly employees also compiled a guide to hiring scientists to write favorable articles, complained to journal editors when publication was delayed and submitted rejected articles to other outlets, according to documents filed in drug-overpricing suits against the Indianapolis-based company, the largest manufacturer of psychiatric medicines.

Drugmakers’ use of ghostwriters has created “a huge body of medical literature that society can’t trust,” said Carl Elliott, a University of Minnesota bioethicist who has written about the practice.

Lilly sought to make Zyprexa “the number one selling psychotropic in history,” according to a 2000 plan distributed to its product team. The memo was among more than 10,000 pages of internal documents unsealed last month in lawsuits by insurers and pension funds seeking to recoup money spent on the drug. They allege Lilly exaggerated Zyprexa’s effectiveness.

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