Zyprexa suit filed in St. Clair County by attorneys Cueto

Ann Knef Nov. 28, 2007, 7:29am

The brother and son of a St. Clair County circuit judge have filed suit against Eli Lilly claiming its anti-psychotic drug Zyprexa is defectively designed, inadequately tested, dangerous and lacked proper warnings.

Christopher Cueto, brother of Judge Lloyd A. Cueto, and Lloyd M. Cueto, the judge's son, filed the suit in St. Clair County Circuit Court on Nov. 15.

The attorneys represent 30 plaintiffs from Illinois, Missouri, Indiana and New Jersey who claim Zyprexa negatively affected their blood sugar and endocrine system gradually over time and duration. The plaintiffs specifically allege they became diabetic after using Zyprexa, and seek damages for personal and economic injuries.

According to the complaint, plaintiffs did not possess sufficient information to cause them to inquire about their diabetes-related injuries associated with Zyprexa until the drug's label changed on Oct. 6.

"Prior to October 6, 2007, the defendant has contended that Zyprexa had not been proved to cause high blood sugar at a more frequent rate than its competitors," the complaint states.

Among other things, the plaintiffs also claim that Eli Lilly illegally solicited physicians to prescribe Zyprexa for "off-label" use, which means using the drug in ways other than what has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. They also claim Eli Lilly made false statements to physicians and pharmacists concerning the efficacy and safety of Zyprexa for off-label use.

"As a result of Lilly's illegal scheme, Plaintiffs were prescribed Zyprexa for off-label uses.

"Lilly knew of the hazards associated with Zyprexa; affirmatively and actively concealed information which clearly demonstrated the dangers of Zyprexa and affirmatively misled the public and prescribing physicians with regard to the material and clear risks of Zyprexa…," the complaint states.

The suit was filed one week after Lloyd M. Cueto was sworn-in as a lawyer. Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier administered the oath to 105 new lawyers at a ceremony Nov. 8 at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.

Judge Lloyd A. Cueto presides over civil cases in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

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