CITY NEWS SERVICE
Testifying Oct. 25 on behalf of Eli Lilly and Co., a psychiatrist criticized the medical care given by the personal physician of a 20-year-old man who allegedly died from the side effects of the pharmaceutical’s top-selling drug.
Dr. Richard Shaw specializes in child and adolescent psychiatry and is a professor at Stanford University. He said Dr. Koichi Ishikawa did not follow standard medical procedure in his treatment of Cody Tadai, whose parents’ products liability case against Eli Lilly is being tried in Los Angeles Superior Court.
“I definitely feel he fell below the standard of care in many aspects,” Shaw told the jury.
However, Shaw said Ishikawa’s decision to prescribe the Eli Lilly drug Zyprexa to Tadai, who was autistic and had displayed aggressive behavior, was reasonable. The medication is commonly used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
The suit filed in October 2007 by Eiko Tadai and her former husband, Randy Tadai, alleges that Eli Lilly knew patients like their son had an increased risk of developing potentially life-threatening conditions after taking Zyprexa, including weight gain, diabetes sand hyperglycemia, but led doctors to believe the side effects were no worse than any other drug.
The Tadais allege that after their son died, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration required Eli Lilly to change the Zyprexa warning label to include language warning physicians that the drug has a greater association with increased blood glucose levels, which causes diabetes.
Cody Tadai was prescribed Zyprexa in October 2003 and took the drug until he died in March 2007 of diabetes-related complications. His parents maintain that Ishikawa would have not have given Zyprexa to him had current warning information regarding potential side effects been in place at the time.
Eli Lilly attorneys deny the young man’s death was caused by Zyprexa and maintain that the company did not misrepresent the drug’s potential side effects to those in the medical community.
Shaw said Ishikawa had Cody Tadai on a total of about eight to nine medications and that the Little Tokyo-based physician did not adequately monitor the young man’s progress on any of them.
“He would stop giving them, then start again without explanation,” Shaw said.
Ishikawa also did not tell Cody Tadai and his mother the risks of weight gain and diabetes associated with Zyprexa, according to Shaw.
Shaw said that while some with autism are brilliant and have successful careers, Cody Tadai had a relatively low IQ level. However, his written material showed he had a good command of his vocabulary, according to Shaw.