INdiana Systemic Thinking

January 30, 2008

Lilly Changing Marketing Payment Scheme?

The only authority for this is Dr. Daniel Carlat, who publishes the Carlat Psychiatry Blog.  Rather than try to summarize, here is his article:

Eli Lilly “Slashes” Hired Gun Payments in Response to Dr. Drug Rep

One of my moles in the upper echelons of the pharmaceutical industry informed me that officials at Eli Lilly are changing some payment policies to hired guns in response to the article, Dr. Drug Rep.

Prepare to be underwhelmed.

The officials involved were apparently discussing the negative publicity generated by the article, and decided to put a more stringent cap on their payments to physicans who hawk their drugs to other doctors. In the past, there was a $100,000/year maximum for regular talks, with an option of tacking on an extra $50,000 for certain “brand-specific” talks, such as talks specifically relating to Zyprexa or Cymbalta. So the maximum was $150,000 per year, and many doctors were happily maxing out at that figure. Reportedly, Lilly is worried that allowing physicians to make “6 figures” for whoring themselves appears unseemly, so as of 2009, the total cap will be slashed to…drum roll please…$75,000/year. That’s only 5 figures.

The physicians affected are unlikely to be hitting the welfare rolls soon, however, as they might be able to make up this lifestyle-threatening shortfall by engaging in a novel professional activity–treating patients.

January 29, 2008

Zyprexa, Cymbalta Fuel Growth for Lilly

From the Indianapolis Star:

Driven by solid sales of its antidepressant Cymbalta, Indianapolis drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co. today said fourth-quarter profits grew to $854.4 million and 78 cents per share, beating many analysts’ estimates.

Earnings jumped six-fold from the same period in 2006, when Lilly recorded income of $132.3 million and 12 cents per share as it took a big charge to settle claims with patients who said they were harmed by Lilly’s Zyprexa schizophrenia drug.

But showing how little harmed it was by that publicity, Lilly said Zyprexa sales were again No. 1 in its sales lineup, accounting for $1.27 billion. Cymbalta was next up with $628.3 million. Overall, its sales increased 16 percent to $5.19 billion.

“Lilly completed a very successful year by continuing to deliver strong financial results to our shareholders in the fourth quarter,” said CEO and chairman Sidney Taurel. “Our additional investment in sales and marketing helped fuel accelerated double-digit sales growth.”

January 26, 2008

Lilly’s Cymbalta Sales Grow

From a Bloomberg report, via the Indianapolis Star
INDIANAPOLIS — Eli Lilly and Co.‘s antidepressant Cymbalta exceeded $2 billion in global saleslast year, Chief Executive Officer Sidney Taurel said. That would represent at least a 52 percent increase from the $1.32 billion reported in 2006, when Cymbalta was Lilly’s third-best-selling product globally. The drug is intended to replace revenue lost to generic competitors for the antipsychotic Zyprexa, Lilly’s top-selling drug, when it loses patent protection in 2011. “Cymbalta is growing very, very fast,” Taurel said Friday in Davos, Switzerland, where he is attending the World Economic Forum. “It will be bigger than Zyprexa before Zyprexa loses its patent.” (Bloomberg)

The Blogmeister agrees with Mr. Taurel.  They just keep finding new uses for this drug.  I recently heard some physicians have found it very useful in the treatment of pain managment.  New uses equal more prescriptions which equal more sales.

December 8, 2007

Lilly Hires Firm to Soothe Psychiatrists’ Concerns

According to the Indianapolis Star, Eli Lilly’s antipsychotic drug Zyprexia is the target of thousands of legal claims.   Lilly is attempting to reassure psychiatrists they do not face higher malpractice risk for prescribing the best selling drug.

“The company has hired a medical education company, Professional Risk Management Services of Virginia, to help spread the message that psychiatrists can manage risk.

The company recently mailed a 14-page brochure to psychiatrists across the U.S. with the message that the best way to avoid malpractice claims is to provide good care and document it carefully.

The program includes a 21-minute online slide show. The program does not mention Zyprexa or other drugs by name.

Lilly acknowledged Friday that some psychiatrists are concerned about being dragged into lawsuits.

“Psychiatrists have an increasing level of anxiety about malpractice and medication prescribing, and a lot of this is heightened by all the plaintiffs’ lawyers running everywhere,” said Lilly spokeswoman Marni Lemons.

The drug maker has paid more than $1 billion to settle tens of thousands of patient claims that it hid or downplayed the side effects of Zyprexa. Many patients said the drug gave them diabetes symptoms, including weight gain and higher blood sugar levels. Lilly has steadfastly denied that, despite agreeing to several rounds of settlements.

Lemons declined to say how much Lilly spent to hire the medical education company.

Lilly faces lawsuits from several states, including Alaska, Mississippi, Louisiana and West Virginia, that seek to recoup Medicaid money spent caring for Zyprexa patients.

The antipsychotic is Lilly’s top-selling drug, generating $4.2 billion in sales last year. But sales growth has been slowing, and Lilly executives told analysts this week that the company’s dependence on Zyprexa will diminish gradually as other products grow faster.

Lilly and the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare announced in June the results of a survey of 400 psychiatrists. The survey showed that more than half had patients who stopped taking antipsychotic medication or reduced their dosages based on fears raised by law firm advertising.

Lemons said initial feedback from psychiatrists who have participated in the program has been “overwhelmingly positive.”

But not all psychiatrists are sold. Dr. Daniel Carlat, a Massachusetts psychiatrist, criticized the program on his blog this week as “one of the more devious drug marketing campaigns in recent memory.”

“No psychiatrist who sees this is foolish or naive enough not to realize that the reason Lilly is doing this is because they’re having serious trouble with Zyprexa,” he said in an interview. “It’s obvious Lilly is just trying to do some damage control.”

December 6, 2007

Cymbalta to overtake Zyprexa as top seller

In a story published by the Indianapolis Star, drug maker and Indiana based Eli Lilly will continue to downsize in an effort to boost profits. 

“In a sweeping overview, the Indianapolis-based company also said it expects 2008 to deliver earnings of $3.85 to $4 per share and that next year should see the emergence of antidepressant Cymbalta to overtake Zyprexa as top seller in the U.S.”

In the Blogmeister’s view, this is not a comment on the state of depression in Indiana and the U.S., but all the “off-label” uses for Cymbalta (such as pain management).

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