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Lilly's Cialis finally overtakes Viagra

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Why do drugmakers still pursue so many me-too drugs? Because, if marketed well, they can be extremely lucrative. Just ask Eli Lilly and Co. about its drug Cialis.

In March, the erectile dysfunction medication overtook Pfizer Inc.’s Viagra in share of the global market for ED drugs.

Given Viagra’s iconic status as the drug that created the market—a drug that became a storyline in late-'90s TV shows like "Ally McBeal" and "Sex in the City," as well as a punchline for the talking heads on ESPN’s "SportsCenter"—that is a remarkable milestone.

Lilly launched Cialis in 2003, more than five years after Viagra pioneered the market. Its marketing campaign began in force—with the somewhat bizarre image of outdoor bathtubs facing a mountain sunset—with TV commercials during the 2004 Super Bowl.

Lilly emphasized the 36-hour window during which Cialis users can have an erection, versus Viagra’s four-hour window.

"This year we will overtake Viagra in terms of the number of prescriptions worldwide," Lilly CEO John Lechleiter told the German publication WirtschaftsWoche, according to a report from Reuters.

In fact, Cialis finally appears to have knocked Viagra out of the No. 1 spot. In March, Cialis claimed about 41 percent of the market compared with Viagra’s 39 percent, according to IMS Health data presented by Lilly to investors on June 30.

Cialis’ biggest success lately has been outside the United States—that is, where Viagra’s cultural hold isn’t as deep. Sales exceeded $1 billion outside the U.S. last year, even though cheaper generic Viagra is available in some countries.

Overall, Cialis sales totaled $1.7 billion last year, an increase of 9 percent over the previous year.

Lilly is now trying to stoke further Cialis sales by pushing it in Europe as a medication for hypertension. It is also seeking U.S. approval for Cialis as a treatment for prostate enlargement—a condition that occurs in half of men who have erectile dysfunction.

Some analysts think those additional uses will keep Cialis sales growing consistently for many more years. Citi analyst John Boris predicts Cialis sales in 2015 of $2.2 billion.

But others think Viagra’s patent expiration in the United States next year will begin to erode Cialis sales. Morgan Stanley analyst David Risinger predicts 2015 Cialis sales of just $1.4 billion.

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  • Cialis Sales
    Hey I would like to know if where it says "Overall, Cialis sales totaled $1.7 billion last year" is that worldwide or in the US. Thank you.

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  1. With Pence running the ship good luck with a new government building on the site. He does everything on the cheap except unnecessary roads line a new beltway( like we need that). Things like state of the art office buildings and light rail will never be seen as an asset to these types. They don't get that these are the things that help a city prosper.

  2. Does the $100,000,000,000 include salaries for members of Congress?

  3. "But that doesn't change how the piece plays to most of the people who will see it." If it stands out so little during the day as you seem to suggest maybe most of the people who actually see it will be those present when it is dark enough to experience its full effects.

  4. That's the mentality of most retail marketers. In this case Leo was asked to build the brand. HHG then had a bad sales quarter and rather than stay the course, now want to go back to the schlock that Zimmerman provides (at a considerable cut in price.) And while HHG salesmen are, by far, the pushiest salesmen I have ever experienced, I believe they are NOT paid on commission. But that doesn't mean they aren't trained to be aggressive.

  5. The reason HHG's sales team hits you from the moment you walk through the door is the same reason car salesmen do the same thing: Commission. HHG's folks are paid by commission they and need to hit sales targets or get cut, while BB does not. The sales figures are aggressive, so turnover rate is high. Electronics are the largest commission earners along with non-needed warranties, service plans etc, known in the industry as 'cheese'. The wholesale base price is listed on the cryptic price tag in the string of numbers near the bar code. Know how to decipher it and you get things at cost, with little to no commission to the sales persons. Whether or not this is fair, is more of a moral question than a financial one.

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