LILLY's PROZAC U.S. RETAIL SALES ANNUALIZING NEAR $ 100 MIL.
LILLY's PROZAC U.S. RETAIL SALES ANNUALIZING NEAR $ 100 MIL., based on July sales trends, Pharmaceutical Data Services (PDS) reported in a recent Alpha-Gram. "July U.S. sales (measured as outflow from the retail pharmacy at acquisition cost) [were] nearly $ 7 mil.," PDS noted. "At this rate, Prozac is approaching the $ 100 mil. level of sales on an annualized basis." Prozac (fluoxetine) became the top-selling retail product among branded antidepressants in less than seven months on the market, PDS data show. The first of a new class of serotonin re-uptake inhibitor antidepressants to reach the market, Prozac was launched in mid-January following a December 1987 approval ("The Pink Sheet" Jan. 4, pg. 3). In the last few months, Prozac sales growth has reflected the kick-in of new prescriptions from the primary care physician market segment as Lilly's phased-in marketing moves beyond the company's initial target group -- the psychiatrist market segment. "In the early months [of Prozac's launch], a majority of new prescription activity was among psychiatrists," PDS observed. "However, since May, the primary care group of physicians has been fueling much of Prozac's growth. Primary care (GP, FP, DO and IM) physicians are now responsible for 49% of Prozac's new prescriptions." For the three months ended July, Prozac generated retail sales (at acquisition cost) of $ 17.3 mil., according to PDS estimates. During that period, 348,000 new prescriptions were written for Prozac, making the Lilly product the market leader among branded antidepressants in both categories. Mead Johnson's Desyrel was a distant second, with sales of $ 11.7 mil. from May-July and 223,000 new prescriptions. Merck's Elavil was in third place in terms of new prescriptions with 208,000, but followed Merrell Dow's Norpramin insales -- $ 6.6 mil. to $ 7.6 mil., respectively. Norpramin had barely half the new prescribing activity of Lilly's Prozac. Nevertheless, "early indications" are that Prozac growth has not been at the expense of the established antidepressants, PDS said. "In the most recent three-month period ending July 1988, the new prescription volume in the traditional market . . . is up 3% over the same three months in 1987," PDS pointed out. Prozac is also under study for inducing weight loss and for treating alcoholism. Lilly is rumored to be close to an NDA submission for the weight loss claim.
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