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Eli Lilly published its second quarter earnings this morning.  This is from the report:

Also gaining were sales of its diabetes medication Humalog.
Sales of the insulin product were up 9% at $478 million.

Lilly's total revenue, however, for the quarter was $5.21 billion, and Humalog was not the largest part.
In case you're curious, here are the sales figures for some of it's other big sellers:

Sales of the company's top-selling product, the antipsychotic Zyprexa, declined 3% to $1.2 billion. Another big seller, the antidepressant Cymbalta, saw sales climb 14% to $744 million. Sales of its lung-cancer therapy Alimta increased 40% to $385 million.

I use BOTH Humalog AND Cymbalta, so I'm really doing my part!

This somewhat concerns me. Why would they want to find a cure if they are making millions off of our use of their products? I do beleive that there are people out there working for a cure but I question some companies motives... Any thoughts??

There is always that risk, but I think the majority of individuals developing drugs are doing it for the right reasons.  Patent laws only allow a monopoly on a drug for so long, so there is always a push for new treatments.  As soon as generics are available profits get lost.  If a new treatment isn't effective, no one will presribe it, insurance companies won't cover it, and so on.  Reputation is an issue too, if your company covers up or misrepesents information, it can hurt early acceptance of your next product, and hurt private or federal money given to you.  For profit centered reasons, some companies might keep trade secrets, but academic research will always there to catch up and force them to adapt.  Federal funding is a big issue for determining what kinds of academic research get done, so paying your taxes helps the cure too.  In terms of an actual cure, that is a potential goldmine (vaccinate every child at birth for diabetes?!?), in addition to guaranteeing donations and stock prices going up.

There was a blurb about a drug company (I think in Time magazine, in the last year or so) that is actually losing money on an AIDS or HIV treatment because they are giving it away at such a reduced cost.  Other thoughts?

What interested me most was not so much the specific dollar amounts but the 9% increase in Humalog revenue.  Among the possible reasons for the increase are: 1) an increase in the number of Type 1 (and 2) diabetics, 2) that Humalog is gradually replacing Humalin-R Regular Insulin AND replacing long-acting insulin formulations as more Type 1's switch to pump therapy and 3) that they've raised the price of Humalog.

I think the increase is in large part because they're getting more and more Type 2s to take it.  You've seen the marketing campaigns on TV and magazines.  Now they're gettng Type 2s on the pump too.  I saw a video on deciding if the pump is right for you on DLife yesterday.  They had two people on there.  One was a type 1 who got into a scuffle with the police while low and wanted to go to the pump to reduce the incidence of lows and the other was <drum roll> a Type 2.


Are you serious about this?

One was a type 1 who got into a scuffle with the police while low and wanted to go to the pump to reduce the incidence of lows.

Whose marketing campaign is this anyway?  I find this to be an example of ignorant, outrageous and insulting exploitation.  I assure you I'm not low right now so I can tell you that if I met up with the person who conceived this campaign they'd learn what a scuffle really is.



Paul, I assure you I am serious about this.  I don't think it is anyone's marketing campaign.  It looks to be kindof a documentary news piece.  They express pros of the pump and cons.  Check it out for yourself:

It's a good idea to keep in mind that drug manufacturing is a business, and one of the primary motivations for a business is profit.  I'm not saying that's the only motivation for all drug companies, but without profit there's really no point to being in business, particularly for a publicly traded company.  Treatment and management of a chronic, irreversible disease like T1 ensures life-long customers and an ever-increasing income stream as more people are diagnosed, especially now that people with T1 are living longer and longer.  The monthly costs of maintaining tight control of BS is pretty significant, and then there are pumps (about $6k each) and CGM's (don't know the cost), and I understand there are consumable items needed with both of those gadgets.  And, if the manufacturers can get doctors on board with putting their T2 patients on a T1-like regimen, with the skyrocketing rate of new T2 in this country that could add up to huge profits, particularly in an insurance-driven health-care system like ours where patients don't necessarily know how much everything is costing.  Why treat T2 with diet and exercise and oral medication, when you can have life-long consumers relying on an expensive regimen, who are unaware of the cost of the treatments they are receiving?  I think drug companies have figured out that a cure for T1 is do-able and will be here within a decade or two, so it's smart of them to start shifting their existing T1 treatments over to the much larger and ever-growing T2 population. 

I don't think there would be much profit in creating a preventative vaccine for T1.  It's not communicable, is not necessarily deadly, management is state-of-the-art so risks of complications is respectably low, and the effected population is not huge.  I don't think it would ever become a standard recommended vaccine, but probably only used with people who have already tested positive for the gene marker or antigen.  There is enough public awareness and reasonable caution around vaccines now, that it would be difficult to make a T1 vaccine mandatory for the entire population.  Just look at what happened in Texas when the Governor tried to make the HPV vaccine mandatory.

There's not a whole lot of "pure" research in the medical field out there anymore.  Most of it is funded by pharma companies who have the rights to any discovery, and that guides the direction of the research.  The cure is going to come through privately funded research (know any billionaires?) and government grants (how many of those are left these days?).  That's why JDRF gets my donations :)

I'm sorry if I've come across as cynical.  I think we just need to keep in mind that drug companies view us primarily as consumers, not as patients, and we should make our health-care decisions accordingly.

Hoppin' off my soap box, now...


the only pharmaceutical commercials i can remember watching on TV recently have been for cymbalta... explains a lot.