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Who Is Eli Lilly?

Eli Lilly and Company is a large conglomerate pharmaceutical company that has locations all over the world. The company was founded in 1876 by Eli Lilly, a former Union soldier, philanthropist, and pharmacist.

Eli Lilly and Company is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, and has manufacturing plants in 13 different countries. The company engages in research in over 55 different countries; has research and development facilities in six different countries but conducts clinical research at universities and other institutions in over 55 different countries; employs over 41,000 workers worldwide; and markets products in over 120 countries.

Medicines Marketed in the US by Eli Lilly & Company

Eli Lilly and Company markets nearly 40 medications in the United States and many others worldwide. According to the Eli Lilly and Company product page, the medicines marketed in the United States include the following:

  • Actos (pioglitazone) is designed to treat type II diabetes by controlling blood sugar levels.
  • Adcirca (tadalafil) and Cialis (tadalafil) both have the same major ingredient (tadalafil) but are marketed for different disorders. Cialis is marketed primarily to treat rectal dysfunction, whereas Adcirca is marketed for the treatment of pulmonary hypertension.
  • Alimta (pemetrexed), Cyramza (ramucirumab), Erbitux (cetuximab), and Gemzar (gemcitabine) are used to stop the spread of cancer cells in the body.
  • Axiron (testosterone) is a topical agent that is used to treat low testosterone levels in males. These medications are typically designed to treat low testosterone levels associated with diseases or conditions that occur as a result of surgery and are not designed to treat low testosterone levels that result from normal aging.
  • Basaglar (glargine) is a long-acting insulin injection drug used in the treatment of diabetes mellitus.
  • Byetta (exenatide) is an injectable drug that helps to treat type II diabetes by controlling blood sugar levels.
  • Cymbalta (duloxetine) is a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. This drug is primarily used in the treatment of depression and for chronic nerve pain.
  • Effient (prasugrel) is an anti-clotting agent that has a number of uses but is particularly useful in breaking up blood clots that result in strokes or heart attacks.
  • Forteo (teriparatide) is a synthetic form of the hormone parathyroid that is used to treat osteoporosis as it increases bone density.
  • Glyxambi (empagliflozin/linagliptin) helps to control blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Empagliflozin helps the kidneys to rid glucose from the bloodstream, whereas linagliptin helps to regulate insulin levels after meals.
  • Humalog (insulin lispro) and Humulin (insulin isophane and insulin regular) are insulin injection products used to treat diabetes mellitus. Eli Lilly and Company markets a number of different injectors and forms of Humalog and Humilin to treat individuals with different needs.
  • Humatrope (somatropin) is a growth hormone used to stimulate growth in children who have a disorder that limits growth, such as Turner syndrome.
  • Jardiance (empagliflozin) is used for the treatment of diabetes mellitus.
  • Jentadueto (linagliptin/metformin) is used for the treatment of diabetes mellitus.
  • Lartruvo (olaratumab) is a medication that can curb tumor growth in cancer patients.
  • Prozac (fluoxetine) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor that is primarily used in the treatment of depression but may be used to treat anxiety disorders, chronic pain, and other disorders.
  • Seconal (secobarbital sodium) is a barbiturate medication originally designed to treat issues with anxiety and anxiety disorders but now is not used as often for this purpose. It may be used for other issues, such as treating seizures or as a preanesthetic.
  • Strattera (atomoxetine) is a selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor that has stimulant effects but is useful and approved for use in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Symbyax (olanzapine and fluoxetine) is a combination of an antipsychotic medication (olanzapine) and the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (fluoxetine). This was the first drug approved for the treatment of bipolar disorder.
  • Taltz (ixekizumab) is an anti-inflammatory medication that can be useful in treating psoriasis.
  • Tradjenta (linagliptin) is an oral medication useful in the treatment of diabetes mellitus.
  • Trulicity (dulaglutide) is an injectable medication used in the treatment of diabetes mellitus.
  • Zyprexa (olanzapine) is an antipsychotic medication primarily used for treating psychotic disorders like schizophrenia but also has off-label uses, such as to treat patients who are agitated due to delirium or even dementia.

Legal Issues

Eli Lilly and Company has had its share of legal issues. A full discussion of every legal action taken against the company would be too lengthy to include here; however some of the best-known ones are outlined below.

  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Axiron as a testosterone replacement therapy in 2010. It became one of the bestselling testosterone replacement drugs; however, several research studies investigating long-term safety of testosterone replacement drugs called into question the use of these drugs, and a number of companies were subject to lawsuits. The FDA has reevaluated the safety of these products, and there are thousands of lawsuits claiming that the manufacturers of these products knew about the risks, particularly the risk of heart attack and stroke as a result of testosterone replacement medications. Eli Lilly is subject to numerous law suits associated with this issue.
  • Between 1999 and 2009, Eli Lilly and Company had an agreement with the Japanese drug manufacturer Takeda to market the oral medication for type II diabetes, Actos in the United States. The drug was found to be linked with bladder cancer and congestive heart failure, and thousands of lawsuits were filed against both companies.
  • In a partnership with Amylin Pharmaceuticals in 2005, Eli Lilly and Company introduced the injectable drug Byetta as a treatment for type II diabetes. The drug has since been linked to thyroid cancer, pancreatic cancer, and pancreatitis, and both companies are the targets of numerous lawsuit actions. In 2011, the rights to the drug were transferred back to Amylin pharmaceuticals.
  • Eli Lily and Company has paid millions of dollars to settle lawsuits related to its antidepressant drug Prozac. These lawsuits claim issues ranging from birth defects when the drug was taken by pregnant women to suicidal behaviors in young people, among other issues. Eli Lilly and Company has lost its exclusive right to market fluoxetine, the active ingredient Prozac, and has lost much of the profit margin once attributed to this drug. Eli Lilly still denies that the use of Prozac in pregnant woman can result in birth defects in children.
  • In 2009, Eli Lilly and Company pled guilty to illegal marketing practices regarding its drug Zyprexa, which is approved to treat psychosis in bipolar disorder and schizophrenia; it is not approved to treat dementia or depression, and it is not approved for treatment of pediatric patients. Eli Lilly and Company paid over $1 billion as a result of this criminal investigation and to settle lawsuits.
  • In 2013, Eli Lilly and Company settled a lawsuit by four sisters claiming that their mother took the drug DES (diethylstilbestrol) in the 1950s, and this resulted in them developing breast cancer decades later. The company faces an undetermined number of similar lawsuits in the future regarding this issue.
  • Eli Lily and Company faces litigation over its drug Symbyax, a treatment for bipolar disorder, and allegations that the drug can lead to birth defects in babies when taken by pregnant women.

A number of patents for high-profile drugs like Cymbalta, Zyprexa, Prozac, and Humalog expired, and the company attempted to develop medications for Type II diabetes, such as formulations of empagliflozin and linagliptin, to make up the profits lost by these expired patents; however, these new drugs may be linked to potentially fatal ketoacidosis.

Conclusions

Eli Lilly and Company is a large American-based corporation that has developed a number of groundbreaking and innovative medicines. It has also been involved in its share of controversy. The company currently appears to be concentrating on treatments for cancer and metabolic conditions in an effort to compensate for the loss of several patents for major drugs it once held the exclusive rights to market.

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