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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 12130

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.


Publication type: news

Goldstein J.
Lilly & Novo Nordisk Do Battle With More Reps
The Wall Street Journal Health Blog 2007 Dec 6

Full text:

For drug sales reps beleaguered by rounds of job cuts, a hint of good news: Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk have been waging an old-fashioned arms race in diabetes.

At Lilly’s analyst day today, Dow Jones Newswires’ Peter Loftus chatted up Lilly’s president John Lechleiter. A year ago, Lechleiter said the company would try to boost its diabetes-drug market share by increasing its diabetes sales force by 40%. Only problem was diabetes giant Novo Nordisk “came back and increased theirs,” hiring about 700 new U.S. sales reps, Lechleiter told Loftus.


Lechleiter said he’s “not satisfied with where we are right now with respect to Humalog sales and Byetta sales.” (Humalog is a version of insulin Lilly sells; Byetta is a diabetes drug from Amylin that is sold by Lilly).

But the end of the rep race may be at hand – Lechleiter said the company has no plans at the moment to hire more diabetes reps. “We’re not in this to see who can add more salespeople,” he said.


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As an advertising man, I can assure you that advertising which does not work does not continue to run. If experience did not show beyond doubt that the great majority of doctors are splendidly responsive to current [prescription drug] advertising, new techniques would be devised in short order. And if, indeed, candor, accuracy, scientific completeness, and a permanent ban on cartoons came to be essential for the successful promotion of [prescription] drugs, advertising would have no choice but to comply.
- Pierre R. Garai (advertising executive) 1963