On January 15, 2009, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a landmark settlement of criminal and civil charges against Eli Lilly for illegally marketing Zyprexa to doctors for unapproved use by elders and children. The company agreed to pay a record $1.415 billion in criminal and civil penalties.
Zyprexa is a dangerous antipsychotic medication that is often prescribed to drug elderly nursing home residents with dementia.
The U.S. DOJ accused Eli Lilly of targeting its illegal marketing of Zyprexa to doctors who treat the elderly in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. According to DOJ, Eli Lilly did so despite lack of FDA approval for this purpose and known severe side effects for this population. Reportedly, Eli Lilly promoted use of Zyprexa by claiming it would help facilities sedate residents who would otherwise require more care.