Woman says Zyprexa caused diabetes

By Chris Dickerson | Jul 6, 2006

CHARLESTON – A Kanawha County woman has filed a lawsuit against the makers of Zyprexa for causing her diabetes.

Penelope Rogers filed the lawsuit against Eli Lilly and Company on June 29.

Rogers' complaint, filed by Montgomery, Ala., attorney W. Roger Smith III, says Zyprexa is an "atypical antipsychotic drug" and is prescribed for the treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar mania and other mental/mood conditions."

Rogers says that after taking Zyprexa, she "was caused to suffer injuries and damages including, but not limited to, the onset of diabetes mellitus, physical pain and suffering, mental and emotional anguish and distress, and economic loss."

She also says she has suffered and will continue to suffer permanent injuries to her health, strength and activity as well as severe shock to her nervous system and mental pain.

Rogers also says she was required to seek the help of physicians to examine, treat and care for her.

She also lists John Does 1-10 as defendants, saying they are unnamed Lilly sales representatives, managers, etc. "whose fraud, scheme to defraud, and/or other wrongful conduct" contributed to her injuries.

"Zyprexa has been widely advertised by the Defendants as an effective treatment for mental/mood disorders with fewer adverse side effects than other treatments," Rogers says in her complaint. "Beginning in 1996, defendants aggressively marketed and sold Zyprexa by misleading potential users about the safety of the product and by failing to protect users of serious dangers which defendants knew or should have known could result from Zyprexa use."

She says that advertising helped perpetuate the idea that Zyprexa is safe.

"Defendants purposefully minimized and understated health hazards and risks associated with Zyprexa," the complaint states. "Defendants, through promotional literature, deceived potential users … by relaying positive information, including testimonials from satisfied users and manipulating statistics to suggest widespread acceptability while downplaying the known adverse and serious health effects of the drug. Defendants falsely and fraudulently withheld relevant information from Zyprexa users' doctors, thereby preventing those doctors from conducting a complete and fully informed risk/benefit analysis before prescribing Zyprexa."

The complaint says that as early as 1998 medical literature revealed data which linked Zyprexa with causing diabetes.

"Numerous reports and studies through the medical literature from 1998 through the present which detail a casual link between ingestion of Zyprexa and the development of hyperglycemia, metabolic syndrome, diabetes and ketoacidosis," the complaint states. "The known dangers of Zyprexa were never communicated by defendants to the plaintiff's physician. … Plaintiff, therefore, was ignorant of Zyprexa's defects before ingesting the product."

Rogers has a list of damages that includes medical and hospital bills, physical injury, emotional distress, mental pain and suffering, humiliation, embarrassment, fear, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of income past and present, disability, disfigurement, monitoring expenses, annoyance, inconvenience and other damages.

She seeks compensatory and punitive damages, injunctive relief, court costs, attorney fees, pre- and post-judgment interest and other relief.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Charlie King.

Kanawha County Circuit Court case number: 06-C-1272

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