Higher prices drive Lilly's second-quarter earnings

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Months away from the patent expiration of its aging blockbuster Cymbalta, Eli Lilly logged a 6% second-quarter sales increase compared with the same period last year. Higher prices were responsible for the majority of the growth. Contributing to the $5.9 billion in worldwide sales: a 22% rise in sales of CNS drug Cymbalta, to $1.5 billion. US sales contributed $1.2 billion of the brand's sales. ED drug Cialis' sales rose 13% compared to the same period last year to $529.4 million, and diabetes shot Humilin's rose 8% to $327.5 million. Osteoporosis med Evista scored a 5% sales increase to $278.7 million despite lower US demand, while blood thinner Effient's sales rose 24%, to $137.4 million.

The company is bracing for a long haul. In addition to losing patent protections for Cymbalta this year and Evista in 2014, the company's cost-cutting measures have included freezing salaries as well as laying off staff.

At the same time, Lilly remains in a wait-and-see mode for its Alzheimer's medication solanezumab, which has been simultaneously termed a failure and a possible hope. The company said earlier this month that it was putting the pipeline treatment through a new round of trials, this time for patients less severely affected by the disease.

Lilly is also jumping into the diabetes glargine biomsimilar pool, submitting its experimental drug to the European Medicines Agency, along with partner Boehringer Ingelheim.

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