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Drug company seeks to suppress internal memos

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39090.484074.DB (Published 11 January 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:59
  1. Jeanne Lenzer
  1. 1Boston

    The drug maker Eli Lilly instigated legal action against a number of doctors, lawyers, journalists, and activists over hundreds of internal corporate documents and emails said to have been obtained by them regarding the antipsychotic drug olanzapine (Zyprexa). Eli Lilly obtained a court injunction on 29 December ordering 16 individuals and organisations to stop publishing the documents and to remove any copies posted on the internet.

    The documents created a furore after they were leaked to the New York Times, which reported that they showed that Eli Lilly “engaged in a decade-long effort to play down the health risks of Zyprexa” (www.nytimes.com/2006/12/17/business/17drug.html). The New York Times, which is not named in the injunction, said that Eli Lilly's chief scientist for olanzapine, Alan Breier, told employees in 1999 that “weight gain and possible hyperglycemia is a major threat to the long-term success of this critically important molecule.”

    One year later an Eli Lilly manager wrote in an email to a colleague that doctors retained by the company warned that “unless we come clean on this, it could …

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