LILLY WILL MARKET FLUOXETINE UNDER DIFFERENT TRADENAME FOR OBESITY
LILLY WILL MARKET FLUOXETINE UNDER DIFFERENT TRADENAME FOR OBESITY and bulimia indications and likely use a different sales force, VP-Finance and Chief Financial Officer James Cornelius indicated at an Alex. Brown-sponsored health care conference in Baltimore on May 9. Cornelius predicted that fluoxetine, currently marketed for depression as Prozac, "may have a different trademark and be sold by a different Lilly sales force than the current one." Lilly has maintained a low profile on the obesity use for fluoxetine while the company established the product over the past two years as the topselling antidepressant product in the world. In the U.S., the company said that Prozac is "approaching" a 50% dollar share of the antidepressant market and over 20% of prescriptions. Fluoxetine has been studied for obesity and bulimia at a different dosage than the anti-depressant use. Supplemental NDAs for the two new indications were filed in the first half of 1988. Although the initial filing was for short-term obesity, the company has indicated that other studies are underway. Lilly is also studying the drug for other uses, such as for alcohol abuse and smoking cessation. Prozac is one of 10 Lilly products with annual sales over$100 mil., up from nine last year. The newcomer is the company's H-antagonist anti-ulcer drug Axid, which passed the $100 mil. sales mark in 1989. Lilly's top-selling drug, Ceclor, generated approximately$700 mil. in sales in 1989, Cornelius noted. However, he pointed out that "there is a good news-bad news side to the Ceclor story." Earlier this year, the Japanese government lowered its payout price for Ceclor by 15%, Cornelius explained. He also noted that the company's patent for Ceclor expires at the end of 1992. "We must have alternative product forms -- one being Ceclor AF...and hopefully another replacement product, another oral antibiotic by the tradename Lorbid ready by the time the Ceclor patent expires," he said. Lilly is "very dedicated...to having the Ceclor replacement ready by the time the patent expires," Cornelius explained. "Lorbid will indeed be that product. It comes out of a unique class of products known as carbacephems." Lilly R&D expenditures for 1990 are currently headed for above $700 mil., Cornelius reported. "Those expenditures have been growing faster than sales and that is a conscious decision by our management," he added.
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