Eli Lilly & Co. Chief Executive Officer Sidney Taurel said Wednesday that because of lingering safety concerns, sales of its blockbuster psychiatric drug Zyprexa in 2007 will largely be flat with 2006 sales.
In an interview with reporters, Taurel said that while Lilly
doesn't anticipate a notable decline in Zyprexa sales, it also doesn't see any substantial growth on the horizon, at least for this year.
"The positioning of the drug is for our sales reps to help physicians identify those patients for whom the efficacy of the drug offsets the potential concern for side effects, and those are, in particular, the urgent patients," said Taurel.
Taurel made his remarks during a meeting of the Boston College Chief Executive's Club in Boston.
Used to treat schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder, Zyprexa has been linked with substantial weight gain in some patients and suspected of triggering diabetes in others.
"They (patients) can use it for awhile, and if they find out there's too much weight gain, they can switch to something else," Taurel continued. "I think the product has found its positioning that way and that's why sales have stabilized."
Except people don't switch to something else. They just stop taking drugs. Period. Or, as with the case when the media fed the SSRI scaremongering, they don't take drugs at all. As with depression, untreated, schizophrenia and manic depression can lead to violence, self-mutilation, substance abuse and suicide.
I am afraid that the slowing sales is a signal of tragedy to come. Lilly has been warning of weight gain and diabetes for years. Coming up with something other than trial and error before starting with meds is what we need to shoot for and is best for all. But others have fanned the flames of fear.