CITY NEWS SERVICE
A jury has rejected a couple’s argument that one of Eli Lilly and Co.’s top-selling drugs was responsible for the death of their 20-year-old son, who developed diabetes-related symptoms and ballooned to nearly 300 pounds before his death in 2007.
The Los Angeles Superior Court jury deliberated for about two days before finding in favor of the company and against Randy and Eiko Tadai on Friday.
The divorced couple’s autistic son, Cody Tadai, was prescribed Zyprexa for more than a year for aggressive behavior by his Little Tokyo-based physician, Dr. Koichi Ishikawa, according to trial testimony.
The suit filed in October 2007 by the Tadais alleged 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 and hyperglycemia, but led doctors to believe the side effects were no worse than any other drug with inadequate warnings.
Eli Lilly attorney Andrew Rogoff countered that Ishikawa knew of the potential side effects of Zyprexa, but failed to monitor his patient’s progress on the drug or do follow-up blood-sugar tests.
Cody Tadai had a weight problem long before he began taking Zyprexa, and his family had a history of diabetes, according to Rogoff.
“We are pleased the jury recognized that Lilly met its duty to warn about the risks of Zyprexa,” Eli Lilly spokeswoman Stefanie Prodouz said in a prepared statement. “We provided the prescribing physician with accurate information on Zyprexa, which allowed him to make an independent, informed decision to prescribe the product for his patient.”
Prodouz expressed sympathy on behalf of the company for the Tadais. “Lilly is sorry for the family’s loss, but the facts simply didn’t point to either Zyprexa or Lilly as the cause,” she said.
The Tadais alleged that after their son died, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration required Indianapolis-based 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.
The Tadais maintained that Ishikawa would have not have given Zyprexa to their son had current warning information regarding potential side effects been in place at the time.