Bullock, Community Leaders Announce Creation of Montana Mental Health Trust
Trust funded by $13M settlement
HELENA – Joined by leaders from the mental health and law enforcement communities, Attorney General Steve Bullock announced Thursday that he has settled a lawsuit with a major pharmaceutical company that will provide millions of dollars for mental health services and programs in the State of Montana.
In 2007, the Attorney General’s office, on behalf of the citizens of Montana, filed suit against Eli Lilly, the manufacturer of Zyprexa. The drug was approved for treating bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, but the Attorney General alleged that Lilly had marketed and sold Zyprexa for unapproved, inappropriate and often dangerous uses and failed to warn physicians and consumers of these dangers.
This week, Bullock and the pharmaceutical giant agreed to settle the lawsuit for $13 million.
Bullock unveiled the Montana Mental Health Trust, which is funded by this historic settlement. In keeping with the intent of the lawsuit, the Trust will use the funds to benefit the mentally ill in Montana.
“The Montana Mental Health Trust has the ability and the potential to do an amazing amount of good for those who are among the most vulnerable members of our society and who often suffer the most, individuals with mental illnesses,” said Bullock. “This settlement comes at a time when the mental health community is most in need.”
In announcing the Trust, Bullock was joined by former Supreme Court Justice John Warner, Ravalli County Attorney George Corn, Sweetgrass County Sheriff Dan Tronrud and Dr. Gary Mihelish of the Montana affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Bullock appointed Warner, who retired from the state’s highest court on the first of this year, to head the Mental Health Trust.
“I am honored to be appointed as Trustee. As a trial court judge and Supreme Court Justice, I have had an up close view of issues confronting those with mental illness, their families and communities,” said Warner. “I am committed to making sure these funds will be used to address these important mental health issues, and I look forward to working with an outstanding advisory committee in deciding how best to put these funds to work.”
Warner will appoint a Trust Committee with experience in the mental health field to advise him in the distribution of funds from the Montana Mental Health Trust. The Trust will fund crisis intervention services, training and education for law enforcement and health care providers, funding for patients transitioning to independent living environments, children’s mental health programs, peer-to-peer services and other programs.
The Trust, which will receive over $9.5 million from the settlement, can fund both private and public entities.
The settlement will also reimburse the Department of Public Health and Human Services $616,474 for money spent through the Montana Medicaid Program purchasing Zyprexa for off-label uses.
More information about the Zyprexa Lawsuit and Settlement is available in a fact sheet.