Mental Health Group a Front For Eli Lilly

The following is extracted from:’s Role in the Scheme

Local 28 Sheet Metal Workers v. Lilly 
Lilly also utilized a non-profit organization as a front to further its own purposes of increasing market share for atypical antipsychotics. Lilly’s funding and partnering with the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill
 (NAMI) in the late 1990s and early 2000s was designed to accomplish through a non-profit organization what it could not on its own: giving the appearance of independent analysis and a grassroots movement encouraging the use of atypical antipsychotics by state and private insurers. The scheme worked and Lilly certainly benefited from its significant donations to NAMI. Zyprexa was the leading antipsychotic in the world in 2000, capturing nearly 40% of the global antipsychotic market. A year later, Zyperexa was the sixth highest selling pharmaceutical product in the world, with $3.2 billion in sales. Complaint

UFCW Local 1776 v. Lilly 
Lilly has been the largest contributor among pharmaceutical manufacturers to NAMI, giving the organization approximately $2.87 million between 1996 and 1999. Lilly “donations” to NAMI were not limited to money. In 1999, Mother Jones Magazine reported that Lilly executive Jerry Radke was “on loan” to NAMI as an executive. Also in 1999, Bob Postlethwait, a Lilly executive (and TeenScreen advisor)
 who headed the group that produced and marketed Zyprexa assisted NAMI Indiana in securing government funding for an executive director. Lilly also provided funding for a variety of brochures and programs produced by NAMI highlighting the use of atypical antipsychotics. One such Lilly-funded brochure – “Understanding Schizophrenia” – produced by NAMI for patients and families of schizophrenics minimized the side effects of atypical antipsychotics such as Zyprexa. Another – the 2001 “Access to Effective Medications” brochure produced by NAMI National for legislators and paid for by Lilly – lays out a blueprint for nationwide NAMI lobbying of state governments to reduce or remove any limitations to payments for atypical antipsychotics, again down-playing the side effects of such drugs. Using money from Lilly and other pharmaceutical companies, NAMI – both the various state-level association and the national organization – has effectively lobbied state and federal governments to increase spending on atypical antipsychotic drugs and to reduce restrictions on access to those pharmaceuticals, thereby protecting pharmaceutical industry profits through the guise of independent, grassroots advocacy. For example, between 1998 and 2000, Lilly gave NAMI Washington State $91,000. During that time, NAMI Washington State, in an effort led by NAMI lobbyist Brad Boswell, lobbied the state legislature for $1 million specifically for atypical antipsychotic drugs. Brad Boswell was Lilly’s Washington state lobbyist just prior to his assignment with NAMI Washington State. NAMI also joined a suit initiated by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) against the state of Michigan in order to increase physician access to higher cost pharmaceuticals – including atypical antipsychotics – under the state’s Medicaid program. Class Action Complaint

Sergeants Benevolent Association Health and Welfare Fund v. Eli Lilly 
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General issued a report in 2002 warning that cozy financial relationships between non-profit advocacy groups and pharmaceutical companies – such as the one between NAMI and Lilly – which result in the generation of revenue for the pharmaceutical companies could be considered illegal under the federal anti-kickback statute. Complaint

One response to this post.

  1. Would you like more information on the NAMI Washington? I am the person who conducted the research from 1999 to 2003?


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