Appeals Court Rules For Pharmaceutical Company in Side-Effects Dispute

A federal appeals court found no credence in the claims of an Arkansas man suffering from bipolar disorder that a drug manufacturer failed to warn doctors that his medication could cause serious side effects.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit on March 10 agreed with a lower court that the doctors who treated Timothy Boehm with the antipsychotic drug Zyprexa were informed by Eli Lilly & Co. that prolonged use of the drug could cause the side effect tardive dyskinesia, or TD, an involuntary movement disorder. The appeals court ruling is here.

Two doctors prescribed Zyprexa for Boehm from 2003 to 2007. Other drugs had been tried, but one stopped working and Boehm didn’t like how the other one made him feel.

In 2007, Boehm complained of involuntary and painful muscle movements, and he was diagnosed as having TD and taken off the drug.

Boehm sued Eli Lilly, claiming the company energetically marketed the drug to physicians but did not adequately warn that prolonged use of Zyprexa increased the odds of developing TD, which can be irreversible. Boehm said he never should have been on the drug for three years.

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas noted a warning included in the drug’s package about prolonged use and found Boehm presented no evidence Eli Lilly’s sales representatives engaged in excessive promotion of the drug. The court granted Eli Lilly’s motion for summary judgment and the Eighth Circuit agreed.

Lisa Hoffman is a contributing writer for The National Law Journal.

LOAD MORE