Home Finance & Investing Business Eli Lilly targets firms that import and sell imitation Mounjaro online

Eli Lilly targets firms that import and sell imitation Mounjaro online

0
Eli Lilly targets firms that import and sell imitation Mounjaro online

[ad_1]

Eli Lilly filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission on Thursday to block companies from importing and selling cheaper versions of its blockbuster drug Mounjaro online, accusing them of misleading and endangering American consumers seeking to lose weight.

The Indiana-based drugmaker accused 11 companies of importing products that they say contain tirzepatide, the active ingredient in Mounjaro, while falsely implying that their products are associated with Lilly or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. One company advertising tirzepatide online as having a purity greater than 99 percent is actually just sugar alcohol, according to Lilly.

By suggesting that their products are equivalent to Mounjaro, which is FDA-approved, Lilly says that the companies are cutting into its sales and engaging in conduct “gravely dangerous to consumers who unknowingly inject themselves with research chemicals not designed or intended for use in humans.”

Lilly’s complaint is the latest in a series of legal battles over sensationally popular medications that treat diabetes and also suppress appetite, helping people achieve unprecedented degrees of weight loss with once-a-week injections. Lilly and Novo Nordisk, the maker of Ozempic and Wegovy, have also sued compounding pharmacies and med spas that make and market off-brand versions of their FDA-approved drugs.

The complaint to the trade commission, however, targets companies that sell their compounds directly to consumers online, often without a prescription that would be required for Mounjaro and other FDA-approved drugs. Lilly is seeking an order from the federal agency that would bar all imports of products that violate fair trade provisions, such as the infringing of its trademark, as well as cease-and-desist orders to the individual companies it has targeted.

An examination by The Washington Post found more than two dozen websites selling tirzepatide or semaglutide — the active ingredient in Ozempic — that generally say they are for research use only. One website refers to this as a “disclaimer to stay in business.” The operator of another site openly acknowledged selling them to people, saying the products were safe.

Inside the gold rush to sell cheaper imitations of Ozempic

Lilly targeted companies it says import their products from overseas, selling them for about a tenth of Mounjaro’s $1,000 monthly list price. The firms can undercut Lilly on pricing, the drugmaker says, “by using cheaper foreign labor and inferior ingredients and processes.” At the same time, Lilly argues, the companies are effectively piggybacking on Lilly’s research and development of Mounjaro by referencing the drug by name, referring to its FDA approval or citing Lilly’s clinical trials. These factors, coupled with the ease of buying the imitation products online, “causes substantial injury to Lilly’s domestic industry.”

The FDA has warned consumers against buying compounds from unlicensed sources. Earlier this month, the agency issued warning letters to two firms selling weight-loss compounds online for what it called “illegally marketed semaglutide.”

Lilly brought in more than $1.4 billion from selling Mounjaro in the U.S. for the first half of 2023, according to its financial statements. Mounjaro, as well as Lilly’s other weight-loss prospects in development, have helped boost its stock price by 60 percent so far this year, giving it a stock-market value of about $560 billion — the biggest of any U.S. pharmaceutical firm, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Mounjaro, Ozempic and Wegovy have proven so popular that their manufacturers haven’t been able to keep up with demand, leading the FDA to declare the drugs in short supply. That designation has opened the door for compounding pharmacies to mix up versions of the FDA-approved drugs, giving rise to an industry built on selling the off-brand versions far more cheaply.

Lilly emphasized in the complaint that it has invested heavily in expanding capacity to make Mounjaro. As of Thursday, all dosages of the drug were listed as available on FDA’s drug shortage database, though the agency hasn’t yet removed it from the list.

“We don’t resolve a shortage until the national demand is being met, which includes the firm being able to fill all orders, with no back-orders and safety stock built up in reserve to prevent further intermittent back-orders,” an FDA spokesperson said.

[ad_2]

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here