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5/7/2002

Lilly Alerts Pharmacists to Olanzapine Tampering

Kate Traynor

In a letter (PDF) dated May 4, Eli Lilly and Co. asks pharmacy professionals to be on the lookout for bottles of olanzapine that appear to contain aspirin instead of the prescription product.

According to the letter, the known tampering incidents are limited so far to bottles labeled to contain 10- or 15-mg tablets of the antipsychotic product olanzapine (Zyprexa) in 60-tablet bottles. In each case reported to the company, a pharmacist had discovered that all of the olanzapine tablets had been removed from the bottle and replaced with white tablets marked "aspirin."

Lilly described the product tampering as "isolated and limited in scope" and said that no patients seem to have been harmed by the incidents.

The company noted that, although olanzapine 10-mg tablets are white and round and might resemble an aspirin tablet, the prescription product is marked with the word "Lilly" in blue text on one side. The other side of the tablet bears the number "4117."

Each 15-mg olanzapine tablet is oval, blue, and embossed with the word "Lilly" on one side and the number "4415" on the other, according to the company.

Any pharmacist who obtains a suspect bottle of olanzapine should call 1-800-668-4391 to report the incident.