Thursday, December 07, 2006

Cymbalta and Zyprexa: Good News

Upbeat Comments from Lilly’s president Dr. John Lechleiter about Zyprexa and Cymbalta:

“Regarding Zyprexa, Lechleiter stated, "2006 marked a turning point for Zyprexa in the U.S. Measured by the four-week moving average of total prescription share, by retail volume or by hospital share, Zyprexa sales in the U.S. have stabilized. Outside the U.S., the positive findings of the CATIE and SOHO studies, the impact of our wellness programs in managing side effects, and our leading share of voice among psychiatrists have allowed Zyprexa to either grow or hold its own in most of our major markets."

Lechleiter also had comments about Cymbalta, which were paraphrased as “Cymbalta is expected to be a key driver of growth for Lilly in 2007. In 2006, Cymbalta outperformed all branded antidepressants in the U.S. in terms of share of market growth as measured by both new prescriptions and total prescriptions. Globally, the Cymbalta launch has been one of the most successful in both Lilly's history and that of the entire antidepressant market. Worldwide sales grew 91 percent in the third quarter compared with the same period last year, and Cymbalta is on track to generate over $1 billion in annual sales in only its second full year on the market.

My View: Well, that’s nice that Cymbalta prescriptions are running wild, even in the absence of any consistent data that it actually reduces pain in depressed patients (which is its unique marketing angle), and that Zyprexa sales are doing well. In the irony department, Byetta, Lilly’s diabetes drug is also doing well. In an era of atypical antipsychotics, of course, we would expect drugs like Byetta to really shine. The SOHO study (very hip name for a drug study) is fresh and I’ve not yet read it, but to discuss the CATIE results as if they were positive for Zyprexa is misleading at best.

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