The Attorney General’s office recently announced brokering a $24 million settlement with major drug maker Eli Lilly, as the result of years of investigation into how the drug maker’s Zyprexa, was being marketed off-label to consumers with dangerous side effects.
Prescribed as an anti-psychotic, the drug was being pushed on Medicaid patients for other off brand illnesses. The side effects that resulted included dangerous weight gain and obesity that lead to stroke or diabetes in many individuals. City Weekly reported in the September 24, 2008 feature “Drug Deal” about the suspicious circumstances by which Shurtleff’s office contracted litigation work to attorneys of the personal injury firm of Siegfried & Jensen.
Besides giving the contract to Siegfried & Jensen attorneys through a no-bid selection, the firm was also shown to have given Shurtleff $35,000 in the months leading up to and after the assigning of the contract between 2005 and 2006. It was also shown that Shurtleff’s daughter was hired on as a top paralegal at the firm shortly before the contracts were awarded as well. Since the publishing of that story, Siegfried & Jensen through the firm and affiliated lawyers have gone to give an additional $60,700 to Shurtleff and his various PAC’s for a grand total of $95,700 in campaign donations.
Quite the vote of confidence, luckily the attorneys can afford it. According to the Trib’s analysis of court documents, of the $24 million settlement, $20 million will go to the state of Utah after roughly $4 million has gone to pay counsel and their expenses.