USA – Mounjaro a diabetic drug by Eli Lilly, an American pharmaceutical company headquartered in Indianapolis, has smashed through the US$5 billion sales mark in 2023, marking its first full year on the market.  

The surge in demand for Mounjaro and similar therapies has driven Lilly’s revenue to a staggering US$34 billion, marking a 20% increase over the previous year. 

Mounjaro, is a subcutaneously administered antidiabetic medication indicated for treating type 2 diabetes and facilitating weight loss and is marked in several countries as Tirzepatide. 

According to reports, Mounjaro has quickly captured 27% of total prescriptions for injectable “incretins” in the U.S., signaling a significant shift in treatment preferences. 

 However, sales of Lilly’s older drug Trulicity have experienced a slight decline, despite still leading the company’s portfolio with US$7 billion in revenue. 

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The introduction of Zepbound, a weight-loss drug containing the same active ingredient as Mounjaro, has further diversified Lilly’s offerings, raking in $176 million in sales within its first quarter on the market.  

However, competition looms from Novo Nordisk’s rival product, Wegovy, which boasts additional benefits in reducing heart risks. 

Looking ahead, Lilly anticipates continued revenue growth in 2024, with forecasts ranging between US$40.4 billion and US$41.6 billion.  

Yet, challenges persist, particularly in overcoming supply constraints and transitioning patients from older medications like Trulicity to newer alternatives. 

Despite manufacturing expansions, Lilly expects demand for incretin drugs to outpace supply in the coming year, echoing similar concerns raised by Novo Nordisk.  

Both companies are investing heavily in production facilities to meet the growing demand for their medications. 

Moreover, the potential expansion of incretins to treat metabolic dysfunction-associated steatohepatitis (MASH) could further boost demand. 

 Promising results from a Phase 2 trial revealed that Mounjaro significantly alleviated symptoms of NASH in a majority of patients, hinting at broader therapeutic applications for these drugs. 

Analyst Steven Seedhouse from Raymond James stated that the results regarding the MASH drug are the most promising seen in either Phase 2 or Phase 3 trials. 

 However, he emphasized the importance of detailed data, as Lilly’s disclosure lacked clarity on how effectively the treatment addressed fibrosis. 

Following Lilly’s announcement, shares of other companies developing MASH drugs, such as Madrigal Pharmaceuticals and Akero Therapeutics, declined. 

Elsewhere, Lilly could experience additional revenue growth. The Food and Drug Administration is nearing a decision on the approval of its Alzheimer’s disease treatment, donanemab, a drug that will compete with Eisai and Biogen’s Leqembi, which has experienced sluggish uptake in the U.S. market.  

Eisai and Biogen aim to treat 10,000 individuals in the U.S. by April, but some analysts doubt their ability to achieve this target. 

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