Exclusive-Lilly could launch obesity drug in India next year, CEO says

By Thomson Reuters Feb 28, 2024 | 12:43 AM

By Leroy Leo and Rishika Sadam

(Reuters) -Eli Lilly expects to launch its obesity drug tirzepatide in India as early as next year, the U.S. drugmaker’s CEO David Ricks told Reuters on Wednesday.

“We’re open to any way to reach more patients as long as it makes sense for the company and we can supply the market,” Ricks told Reuters when asked if Lilly was open to allowing authorised generic versions of tirzepatide.

The drug is sold under the brand name Mounjaro for diabetes and Zepbound for weight-loss in the United States.

India should boost patent protection, get rid of redundant policies and create a social safety net to win more investment from global drugmakers, Ricks said in his keynote address at the BioAsia conference in the southern Indian state of Telangana.

Lilly and Danish rival Novo Nordisk make highly effective and popular drugs for diabetes and weight-loss, which belong to a class of treatments known as GLP-1 agonists.

Last year, a top Novo Nordisk official told Reuters it is targeting to bring its blockbuster weight-loss drug Wegovy in India in 2026.

The global market for these treatments is expected to reach at least $100 billion by the end of the decade, according to analyst estimates.

(Reporting by Rishika Sadam and Leroy Leo in Hyderabad; Writing by Bhanvi Satija in Bengaluru; Editing by Dhanya Ann Thoppil and Savio D’Souza)