Eli Lilly has posted a better-than-expected set of figures for the third quarter, with the antidepressant/fibromyalgia blockbuster Cymbalta and lung cancer treatment Alimta driving sales.

Net income reached $941.8 million, compared with a loss of $465.6 million a year earlier, when the firm took a $1.48 billion charge relating to the settlement of marketing probes concerning the antipsychotic Zyprexa (olanzapine). Sales reached $5.56 billion, a rise of 7%.

The most striking performances came from Cymbalta (duloxetine), up 10% to $790.2 million and Alimta (pemetrexed) which leapt 47% to $461.9 million. Lilly’s best-selling drug continues to be Zyprexa, which had turnover of $1.22 billion, an increase of 3%. The insulin products Humalog and Humulin rose 16% and fell 4% respectively, to $500.2 million and $260.4 million.

The chemotherapy Gemzar (gemcitabine) was down 25% to $331.8 million, due to generic competition, though sales of the erectile dysfunction drug Cialis (tadalafil) were up 5% at $397.2 million. The osteoporosis drug Evista (raloxifene), which is also approved for the prevention of breast cancer for certain postmenopausal women, had revenues of $259.5 million, down 2%, while sales of Lilly’s other osteoporosis drug Forteo (teriparatide) increased 11% to $213.1 million.

The type 2 diabetes treatment Byetta (exenatide), which is sold in partnership with Amylin, had worldwide sales of $205.7 million, up 2%, and $115.8 million (+6%) of that was booked by Lilly. Erbitux (cetuximab), the cancer agent that the company got hold of through its $6.5 billion acquisition of ImClone Systems last year, brought in $101.9 million.

Worldwide sales of the recently-launched blood thinner Effient (prasugrel) which is partnered with Daiichi Sankyo, totalled $22.6 million. Lilly said it continues to make “good progress in gaining reimbursement and access for the product”.

Chief executive John Lechleiter noted that the firm has managed to “deliver very attractive earnings growth”, reflecting a streamlining of the organisation”. He added that Lilly has been taking measures “to accelerate the flow of new medicines through our pipeline," following a restructuring plan unveiled last month.

The results exceeded analyst expectations, but Wall Street is still concerning about a number of looming patent expiries and a pipeline that does not look particularly healthy. For the full year, Lilly upped its earnings per share forecast, excluding items, to $4.30-$4.40 per share from $4.20-$4.30.