Since we're pharmaceutical product liability defense lawyers, we keep our ears pretty close to the ground in that sandbox. (Yeah, yeah: We get a lot of sand in our ears.) Anyway, we heard rumors that we had spread false information. We had written that a mis-directed e-mail from Pepper Hamilton to Alex Berenson of The New York Times prompted Berenson's front-page article about Eli Lilly's talks with prosecutors to pay $1 billion to settle charges of impropriety in the marketing of Zyprexa.
That story originally appeared at Portfolio.com. We were, we think, the first to repeat the misinformation in the post we published yesterday. But we weren't alone, as the story ricocheted around the web from Starkman to Above the Law to Pharmalot to the Wall Street Journal Law Blog. If this story wasn't true, then none of us should have been spreading the rumor.
The story wasn't true.
We don't know anything about journalistic propriety, so we picked up the phone and called Alex Berenson at the Times. We asked him whether a misdirected e-mail from Pepper to Sidley & Austin had prompted his front-page story.
It did not. Berenson did receive a mis-directed e-mail from Pepper, but that e-mail did not contain a detailed description of the status of the settlement talks. Berenson had known independently about the settlement talks for some time, and he obtained the details he published in the Times from sources other than Pepper.
We apologize, Pepper Hamilton. We shouldn't have unfairly accused you, and we hope that this post helps to set the record straight.
(But you've gotta admit, it was a heckuva story -- "There but for the grace of God go I" -- while it lasted. If only it had been true.)
Sorry about that, folks.