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Lilly hit by Zyprexa losses

Published on 30/01/13 at 11:33am
Zyprexa image

The loss of exclusivity on Eli Lilly’s blockbuster antipsychotic Zyprexa hit the company hard in 2012, with the firm’s overall revenue falling 7% worldwide.

The drug itself, licensed to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, brought in as much as $5 billion in 2010, but had sales of just $1.7 billion last year - down 63% on 2011’s figure.

Lilly’s turnover fell to $22.6 billion, although its pre-tax profit of $5.4 billion was up 1% year-on-year. Life without Zyprexa is proving as tough as Lilly predicted a year ago, and its troubles are far from over.

Sales of another top-seller, the antidepressant Cymbalta were impressive in 2012, up 20% to $4.9 billion - but it too is about to lose patent protection in major markets.

Lilly chief executive John Lechleiter highlighted ‘solid’ results in the fourth quarter of 2012 and pointed to a pipeline with 13 medicines in Phase III.

“We continued to control costs while investing in R&D in order to replenish and advance our pipeline,” he said. R&D expenses were up 5% to $5.278 billion, which is 23% of Lilly’s total revenue for the year. 

“We successfully offset a large part of the revenue decline from the Zyprexa patent expiration with growth in other products such as Cymbalta, Forteo, Alimta, Effient and our animal health portfolio,” Lechleiter added.

In the fourth quarter of 2012, revenue fell 1% year-on-year to $5.9 billion, with pre-tax profits down 3% to just over $1 billion.

Restructuring and other costs accounted for $281.1 million in 2012 for the company.

Adam Hill

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