Sales of Eli Lilly's best selling drug rise 20%


Eli Lilly reported fourth-quarter earnings that beat analyst estimates as sales of its top selling drug, the Cymbalta depression treatment, increased 20 per cent, helped by higher prices in the US.

Net income fell 4 per cent to $827.2 million or 74 cents a share. Lilly has struggled to boost earnings as generic copies take sales from its schizophrenia drug Zyprexa, which generated $5 billion in annual revenue before losing patent protection in October 2011.

Chief executive officer John Lechleiter has said profit will not grow again until after 2014, when Cymbalta loses market exclusivity.

Lilly said it has 13 drugs in final testing and expects to seek regulatory approval this year for two new cancer medicines and three new diabetes treatments. Revenue fell 1 per cent to $5.96 billion. – (Bloomberg)