Lilly deal gives Sanofi rights to sell Cialis over the counter
Sanofi will seek to sell Eli Lilly & Co.'s erectile-dysfunction drug Cialis without a prescription after the companies reached an agreement on marketing rights for the orange pills.
Sanofi will apply for approval of Cialis as an over-the-counter treatment in the U.S., Europe, Canada, and Australia, and will market the drug after certain patents expire, the Paris-based company said in a statement Wednesday, without disclosing the terms of the agreement with Indianapolis-based Lilly.
The plan gives Sanofi access to a drug that garnered $2.16 billion in sales last year and will face generic competition starting in 2017. The deal also fits with Sanofi chief executive officer Chris Viehbacher's interest in consumer health-care acquisitions. Sanofi was among the bidders for Merck & Co. Inc.'s over-the-counter unit, people with knowledge of the matter said in March, before Bayer AG bought the division for $14.2 billion.
The Cialis agreement "reinforces consumer health care as a major growth platform for Sanofi," Vincent Warnery, senior vice president of Sanofi's global consumer health-care division, said in the statement.
Cialis competes with Pfizer Inc.'s Viagra. The New York-based drugmaker reached an agreement in December with Teva Pharmaceuticals Ltd. that permits the Israeli drugmaker to market a generic version of Viagra in the U.S. starting in December 2017, or earlier under certain circumstances.
More than 18 million Americans older than age 20 suffer from erectile dysfunction, according to Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health.