Zyprexa Document Leaker Loses His Appeal


jim-gottsteinJim Gottstein, an attorney who was one of three people named as conspirators in the infamous Zyprexa document scandal three years ago, has lost his bid to overturn an injunction leveled against him by a federal judge in New York. A federal appeals court yesterday upheld that decision (look here).

For those who don’t recall, Gottstein, who runs The Law Project for Psychiatric Rights, a non-profit against forced drugging, was accused along with two others by US District Court Judge Jack Weinstein of violating a court order by creating a “sham” to leak and publish sealed Zyprexa documents. The documents, which detailed hidden side-effect data and improper marketing, were published by The New York Times, setting off a feverish debate over the public’s right to know about concealed side effect data.

Last year, however, Lilly agreed to plead guilty and pay $1.415 billion, which included a $515 million fine for a misdemeanor criminal charge, for off-label promotion of Zyprexa (see here), which was only dwarfed by Pfizer’s $2.3 billion settlement. And the others? Weinstein called the Times reporter ‘reprehensible,’ but didn’t mete out any punishment. David Egilman, who was an expert witness for plaintiffs’ lawyers suing Lilly, earlier settled for $100,000 (background here and here. The Drug and Device Law blog, meanwhile, has this to say about Egilman).

As for Gottstein, he sends us this statement: “Today, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the District Court’s injunction issued against me in connection with the subpoenaing and distribution of documents produced in the Zyprexa Products Liability Litigation. I am disappointed in the ruling. The Court of Appeals held the District Court did not abuse its discretion in finding the subpoena was a sham. This is not the case. I believe I acted properly, but understand why both courts would believe this.

“Ultimately, I feel I did not adequately explain my actions to the District Court and it was understandably offended by what it thought was a deliberate violation by me of one of its orders. My explanation was hampered at the time because critical information had been withheld from me, such as my client having been drugged with Zyprexa pursuant to a forced drugging court order shortly before I took his case. I certainly intended no disrespect to the District Court.”

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  1. The rights of corporate criminals to keep important health information from the public triumphs….talk about setting a bad president and sending all the wrong messages.

    What Gottstein did for public safety far outweighs the feds ongoing attempts to protect and encourage corporate crime. Just another example of selective prosecution that does not at up to equal justice in America.

    Fortunately the cat is forever out of the bag, and even the courts can’t put it back in once again.

  2. The ongoing theme of many articles on this website is about “the money”(rightfully so). Once zyprexa(olanzapine) goes generic, no one will be asking about it’s risk for weight gain, diabetes, or other metabolic syndrome like problems. Once zyprexa costs pennies a day, the use of this drug for dementia related psychosis won’t be a problem.
    Laws like corporations are made up by people. People do right things and they do bad things. Whatever your thoughts are about the pharma industry, (and there has been plenty of “bad stuff”) they don’t make landmines or guns.

  3. “they don’t make landmines or guns” you appear to be correct with that statement.

    Of course with landmines and guns we know the risk and outcome right out in the open, yet with drugs marketed with hidden side effects and dangers we know little until the catastrophe occurs.

    I believe your line of rational may be deeply flawed.

    “Once zyprexa(olanzapine) goes generic, no one will be asking about it’s risk for weight gain, diabetes, or other metabolic syndrome like problems.”

    In reality because we now know the tremendous risk associated with this drug, it will probably be used much more judiciously with other alternativeness being considered first.

    If you haven’t noticed Generics are not marketed or is the disease mongering so robust when patent oriented mega profits are not in play.

    “Once zyprexa costs pennies a day, the use of this drug for dementia related psychosis won’t be a problem”

    Oh really, are you saying once a drug goes generic the warning labels are removed and doctors will use Zyprexa like a vitamin?


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  4. Zyprexa is already generic in Canada and has been since 2007. As a matter of fact, Lilly lost twice to the courts where a judge ruled in favor of TEVA Novopharm, to market generic Zyprexa.

    Sales for Novo-Olanzapine are nearly 2 million prescriptions a year.

    When the lawsuits for diabetes, death and weight gain as well as permanent metabolic issues start coming out of Canada, you’ll see once again, the questioning of this chemical.

    Zyprexa is the first bad a** to hit the market prior to Seroquel made by AstraZeneca, and both drugs have had devastating side effects for thousands of people in the U.S.

    TEVA has already gone after Seroquel for generic and AstraZeneca won the patent in court until 2012. TEVA offers the public inexpensive drugs, savings to consumers and corporations such as Lilly and AstraZeneca lose the monopoly on injuring and negative side effects of innocent victims.

    If one would consider how much Lilly and AstraZeneca waste in litigation defense and lawsuit settlements for those 2 drugs alone, you’d think they would want to give this stuff up quickly to TEVA et al.

    As far as Gottstein, it will be of no surprise that I support his actions and others follow his example.

    To allow Lilly execs and AstraZeneca execs to walk free KNOWING they buried and skewed data and sold their drugs anyway IS the CRIME.

    Gottstein exposed valuable documents to the public, for which I for one am grateful.

    It is time the pharmaceutical industry is held accountable, especially since CIA’s apparently hold no value in our court system, and the real criminals who marketed ZYPREXA and SEROQUEL are walking FREE without jail time.

    VIVA Gottstein!

  5. I bet managed care companies will require doctors to write generics first and I bet doctors will comply.

  6. Doctors can write “dispense as written” if the patient wants name brand drugs, but that does not mean the insurance company they have will pay for it.

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