Amylin Wins Temporary Restraining Order in Byetta Spat

Amylin Pharmaceuticals has scored a victory in its quest to prevent Eli Lilly from using its Byetta sales force from marketing a competing drug. <"">Byetta, which is treats Type II diabetes, is marketed jointly by Eli Lilly and Amylin.

Eli Lilly had recently entered into an agreement with Boehringer Ingelheim to market the competing drug, Tradjenta. In a lawsuit filed in California federal court, Amylin claimed that Lilly’s agreement to sell Tradjenta constituted improper and anticompetitive behavior. Amylin alleged that by using the same sales force to market both Byetta and Tradjenta, Eli Lilly would have the ability to choose which drug is promoted better.

Late last month, the court granted Amylin a temporary restraining order barring Eli Lilly from proceeding with its plans to use the same sales force to sell both drugs. The court also enjoined Eli Lilly from disclosing any confidential information about Byetta to any of its sales representatives or employees participating in the marketing, promotion or sale of Tradjenta. According to the court order, Eli Lilly planned for 60 percent of its 1,144 sales representatives to promote Tradjenta over Byetta.

“Sales representatives that were part of the Amylin-Lilly alliance, and privy to confidential Amylin information, will now play a part in the Boehringer-Lilly alliance and sell Boehringer-Lilly product,” San Diego federal Judge Janis Sammartino wrote in her order. “Under the circumstances, it seems impossible for Lilly to maintain in confidence Amylin’s confidential information.

Byetta was approved in 2005 to help Type 2 Diabetics on other medications better control blood sugar when other drugs were not adequate. Eli Lilly and Amylin entered into their Byetta agreement in 2002.

Byetta has been linked to a number of serious side effects, including pancreatitis and kidney problems. In 2009, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) directed Amylin to conduct number of Byetta post-marketing studies. These included one that would explore a possible association with pancreatic cancer and thyroid neoplasm (this often refers to thyroid cancer).

At least one product liability lawsuit has been filed alleging that Byetta led to a user developing fatal pancreatic and liver cancer.

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