CounterPunch has just published a great review of The Zyprexa Papers, Jim Gottstein’s book about his battle over Zyprexa (Olanzapine) with drug marketing giant Eli Lilly. Written by Bruce E. Levine, a psychologist and social critic, the review addresses the broad social issues raised by Jim Gottstein’s story. Here is an excerpt from the review:
The Zyprexa Papers: A Legal System for Drug Companies and Lawyers… Not the Public
On November 28, 2006, attorney Jim Gottstein received a phone call that would change his life. It would propel Gottstein into a legal war against the giant pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, who would retaliate against him for his release of Lilly’s own documents about its drug Zyprexa. A U.S. District Court would rule that Gottstein had conspired to steal these documents, and Lilly would threaten Gottstein with criminal contempt charges. Gottstein’s The Zyprexa Papers (2020) is an account of his odyssey.
Lilly had good reasons to be fiercely protective of Zyprexa (the brand name for olanzapine), approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for people diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Zyprexa, by 2017, had lifetime sales of $60.6 billion.
Lilly HQ: Photograph Source: Momoneymoproblemz – CC BY-SA 4.0
The Zyprexa Papers is not simply about the harm done by blockbuster psychiatric drugs and drug company illegal marketing. It is also about the perversion of the U.S. legal system, as Gottstein illuminates the courts’ use of secrecy orders in settlement agreements to the detriment of the public.
The review includes this direct quote from Gottstein’s book:
“When lawyers are faced with companies telling them they won’t settle unless everything is kept secret, the lawyers almost always advise (insist) their clients agree. . . .This is a situation where the benefits accrue to one group and the detriments to another. In other words, their clients are not harmed by keeping the information secret, but the public is harmed. Their clients only get benefits, i.e., money. This is also true of the lawyers, who get paid (a lot) if the case is settled but don’t get paid if they lose. The judges are supposed to allow the secrecy only if it is in the public interest, but in practice, they don’t. The secrecy greases the wheels of settlement as well as litigation, and judges want to have cases resolved and off their docket. So the incentives are all pushing towards keeping things secret. Normally, no one is representing the public interest.”
Get the book: The Zyprexa Papers