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generic fluoxetine, etc.) (1). To prevent other pharmaceutical companies from grabbing a large portion of Eli Lilly’s market shares in the selling of antidepressant drugs, Eli Lilly and company is considering the need to replace Prozac with its successor. Eventually, the successor of Prozac is expected to be launched at least 18 months prior to the date wherein Prozac’s patent right would expire (18). The New Antidepressant Team (NAT) is composed of people from Eli Lilly’s R&D and marketing department (7). During the initial stage of searching for Prozac’s successor, members of NAT investigated a total of five (5) assets known as: (1) R-fluoxetine; (2) olanzapine-fluoxetine combination (OFC); (3) 5HT2 antagonist SSRI; (4) business development opportunities; and (5) Cymbalta (duloxetine) (7 – 8). In general, there are serious constraints in the first four (4) assets. Therefore, the members of NAT decided to pursue the future development of Cymbalta as the best option. For instance, even though the use of R-fluoxetine can prevent the side effects of Prozac which include sexual dysfunction and insomnia, this particular drug composition is patented by Sepracor. In the process of entering a license agreement with Sepracor, Eli Lilly will have to share part of its profit with the said company. Furthermore, the use of R-fluoxetine can trigger serious side effects on the part of the patients. Therefore, it is not advisable for Eli Lilly to invest in the future development of R-fluoxetine. Although OFC has been approved by the FDA, investing in the future development of OFC is also questionable because of the small market size of people with bipolar depression (2.5 million patients or less than 1% of U.S. population) as compared to individuals with major depressive disorder (10% of U.S. population). It means that focusing on the development of OFC would mean less sales and profit on the part of Eli Lilly. The 5HT2 antagonist SSRI is effective in terms of reducing side effects such as anxiety, agitation, insomnia, restlessness, and sexual dysfunction. However, it is not advisable to invest further on this option because of its toxic effects on animals. Lastly, there was an issue of business conflict in Eli Lilly’s in-license compound from other pharmaceutical companies (8). As a potential successor of Prozac, the NAT has to decide on three (3) options for Cymbalta before the official NDA submission. These options include: (1) the need to prove the efficiency or effectiveness 60 mg of Cymbalta once a day (QD) when treating major depressive disorder; (2) conduct a clinical trial which aims to allow the company to come up with an entirely new pain indicator for Cymbalta on top of presenting the drug efficacy using 20 to 40 mg of Cymbalta at least two times a day (BID); and (3) postpone the NDA submission for several years until option 1 and 2 has been satisfied (15). Analysis and Evaluation In search for Prozac’s successor, conducting a marketing research is important in terms of determining the target market and the future expected sales and profitability of Eli Lilly. Specifically the end users of Cymbalta include all individuals who are suffering from major depressive disorder. In line with this, it is necessary to take note that consumer behavior about certain drugs is highly dependent on what they physicians would prescribe to them. In this context, it is clear that ...Show more

Summary

Eli Lilly – Developing Cymbalta Identification of the Strategic Issues and Problems Eli Lilly is a US-based company that manufactures and sells Prozac – a kind of anti-depressant drug which has been protected by a patent right back in 1988 (Ofek and Laufer 5)…
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