Big front page local news coverage
Will Hall <will@...
2007-01-16 16:24:00 GMT
gives too much play to lilly's view but still a good article.
and david I am / freedom center is a mindfreedom member btw, if you want
to put this on the mfi website
Activist gagged for drug fact leak in Lilly case
BY KIMBERLY ASHTON STAFF WRITER
NORTHAMPTON - A city man who co-founded a mental health advocacy group
is among those drug giant Eli Lilly has sought to silence regarding
documents leaked about Zyprexa, its bestselling drug for schizophrenia.
Will Hall, a member of the Freedom Center in Northampton - a group often
critical of the pharmaceutical industry and that also offers support and
holistic alternatives for people with mental illness - is one of 13
people named in a gag order pursued by Lilly.
The order was granted in a federal court in New York Dec. 29 and renewed
on Jan. 4. It forbids Hall and others from disseminating or facilitating
the dissemination of internal Lilly documents Hall and others say prove
that the corporation suppressed information about the side effects of
Zyprexa and promoted so-called 'off-label' use.
The documents were originally obtained via subpoena by Jim Gottstein, an
Alaskan lawyer, as part of a lawsuit involving Zyprexa. Lilly alleges
that Gottstein then disseminated the documents to a dozen mental-health
activists who are critical of the drug industry, including Hall.
Hall, reached in Portland, Ore., Thursday, where he is working with
another mental health advocacy group, said he has seen the documents,
and they show that Lilly knew Zyprexa could cause diabetes and that the
company pushed the use of the drug for dementia, although it is not
approved for such use. Such marketing is illegal.
Lilly strongly denies the accusations. A spokeswoman for the company
said questions about Zyprexa are answered at www.zyprexafacts.com A
Lilly press release on the site says media reports have omitted several
facts about the drug.
'From the day that Zyprexa was approved, the labeling provided to
physicians identified the potentially clinically significant weight gain
that was observed in more than half of all patients treated long-term
with Zyprexa, as well as the diabetes-related adverse events observed in
clinical trials,' an online Lilly response states.
In an email response, the Lilly spokeswoman, Carole Puls, wrote, 'The
leaked documents - only a few hundred of the 11 million pages, so far as
we can determine - have been carefully selected by the 'leakers' to tell
a story that the 'leakers' want them to tell. These documents do not in
any way represent an accurate view of Lilly company strategy or
activities. What these individuals are not likely to show you is the
millions of other pages of documents demonstrating how Lilly and its
employees have worked to improve the lives of people with schizophrenia
or bipolar disorder.'
As to the confidentiality of the documents, she wrote, 'The United
States Supreme Court has held that there is no First Amendment right of
access to confidential documents subject to a protective order in
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital-rights advocacy group, is
now representing the anonymous person who posted the documents online.
The current gag order expires Jan. 16.
'This is a real free speech issue,' Hall said. 'It's this chilling
effect of trying to intimidate people from (getting this information).'
He said he is concerned that local mental health professionals are using
the drugs without accurate information about it.
A spokeswoman at the American Psychiatric Association said Friday that
the group does not comment on specific drugs.
Hall, 40, moved to Northampton in 2000 after periods of hospitalization
in New Hampshire and California for what was diagnosed as schizophrenia.
He said he was coerced into taking psychiatric drugs and that these
drugs didn't help him. He said he rejects the label of 'schizophrenic,'
has been drug-free since 1992 and believes that alternative therapies,
such as meditation, yoga, acupuncture and a better diet have helped him
control what he calls his 'extreme states of consciousness.'
The Freedom Center, he said, is pro-choice on the issue of whether to
take psychiatric drugs. Some of the members feel the drugs have helped
them, while others choose not to take drugs, he said.
The results of clinical trials for Lilly products can be found on the
company's online registry at www.lillytrials.com