Lexapro Behind The Scenes
What makes Lexapro so special?
Why would a drug company stop promoting a very successful drug – Celexa – and put their millions into marketing a brand new one – Lexapro?
Why would Forest instruct their powerful 2000+ razor-sharp sales force to push Lexapro and leave Celexa twisting in the wind like a Mexican seniorita in a sailor’s port town?
Dr. Farah, the North Carolina psychiatric Lexapro supporter, would have us believe Lexapro is a better drug than Celexa – and the CEO of Forest Laboratories had an epiphany to help all those poor people suffering from the spirit-crushing throes of depression.
It’s a moral decision? Really?
Or, have they watched as Eli Lilly got slaughtered with Prozac, and vowed to not let it happen to them?
Let’s look back to the summer of 2001.
The exclusive patent to produce Prozac had finally run out. When Eli Lilly lost its court battle to block Barr Laboratories from distributing fluoxetine, the generic version of Prozac, their stock lost 30% of its value in one day.
Within two months, Prozac sales were down 80%.
Generic drug companies such as Barr Laboratories have a much easier time producing their generic drug, as opposed to ‘brand name’ drug companies such as Eli Lilly, who produce Prozac.
Generics only have to prove:
- their product delivers the same dose of the active ingredient into the bloodstream
- in the same amount of time as the original drug.
It’s called ‘bioavailability‘. Forest, on the other hand, had to provide preclinical and clinical data to ‘prove’ both safety and efficacy regarding Lexapro and Celexa.
Drug companies fight generics in three main ways:
1. extend existing patents.
2. develop new compounds by:
- combining certain drugs, and/or
- dividing certain drugs – essentially it amounts to an extra stage in the manufacturing process. (How Lexapro was derived from Celexa.)
3. funding studies to show generics aren’t as good.
Following their court loss, Eli Lilly then attempted to break Prozac into two isomers and patent one, but were unable to produce favorable test results and their efforts were for naught.
Celexa accounts for over two-thirds of Forest’s revenues. (Prozac was only one-fourth of Eli Lilly’s revenue.) If Forest didn’t do something drastic, then company profits could be all but wiped out.
The patent on Celexa was supposed to expire in July of 2003. Forest fought long and hard to extend the patent protection, and was finally able to fend off generic encroachment.
Too bad the court battle only counts in the U.S.! Lundbeck has already lost patent protection in Europe for the Celexa counterpart, Cipramil.
There is already a generic version of Celexa selling in Germany for 25% less than the price of Celexa.
Oh, Dr. Farah didn’t mention that part, did he?
By exploiting the patent system, Lundbeck and Forest have a good chance to continue their remarkable success.
Splitting a drug molecule in half is a common strategy for companies trying to replace a blockbuster drug that’s losing its patent protection.
It’s called a ‘racemic switch’.
A racemic switch is the redevelopment in single-enantiomer form of a drug first approved as a ‘racemate’.
Allegra is a split of seldane.
Clarinex is a split of claritin.
Nexium is a split of prilosec.
And the anti-obesity drug sibutramine has spawned both the S and R enantiomers, (the right- and left-hand sides of the molecule) hopefully to treat impotence, incontinence, obesity, ADHD and depression.
About one half of the top 500 prescription drugs are single-enantiomers.
Regarding Lexapro, many stock market analysts are optimistic because Forest has a few years to build up Lexapro sales.
Forest’s army of over 2000 top-notch drug reps could still save the day, dispensing hundreds of thousands of free Lexapro samples to doctors, in their quest to help people become more ‘undepressed’.
Expect your doctor to jump on the Lexapro bandwagon.
In addition to reading this behind-the-scenes story of Lexapro, it’s also important to understand the underlying causes that would lead someone to such a painful place of needing Lexapro in the first place.
I almost feel guilty because my life has become so enjoyable and so easy. Especially since I remember how miserable I used to be.
Basically it comes down to making one slight shift in what you do everyday, and you can watch in amazement as your life slowly begins to start working out in almost every way.
It’s such an important change that I’ve written a complete e-book about it. And I’d like to give you a copy for free. All you have to do is write your first name and primary email address into the space below, and you’ll be receiving a link to download the e-book right away.