16 January 2007

Horses and stable doors

I hear that Eli Lilly are attempting to censor the Internet. Their target is an archive called “ZyprexaKills”, a tar file compressed with gzip containing leaked internal Eli Lilly documents relating to their antipsychotic drug Zyprexa.

As well as going after people who provide the file for download, Eli Lilly have been filing DMCA complaints against people who link to sites that have the file for download, or merely provide instructions on how to find it. The EFF are defending such sites.

Those who know me well will recall that I have a character flaw: if someone tells me I shouldn’t be allowed to read something or watch something, I immediately develop an overwhelming urge to do so.

In this case, I find myself somewhat conflicted. A lot of the anti-Zyprexa people appear to be anti-psychiatry crackpots, and I imagine the Church of Scientology has an interest somewhere; but on the other hand, it seems that Eli Lilly promoted unapproved use of their drug, engaged in a decade-long attempt to downplay its risks, and settled with 28,500 people for $1.2 billion rather than risk going to court to defend charges that the drug led to diabetes and other illnesses.

So although I’m a great believer in the healing power of psychiatric drugs, I also think this is a case where the public has a right—a need, even—to know the facts.

If you’re interested, a quick web search will turn up sources for the Zyprexa documents; I’m sure you don’t need me to spell out the procedure. Eli Lilly are going to discover that trying to remove the file from the Internet is rather like trying to remove the pee from a swimming pool.

© mathew 2017