Eli Lilly has posted a 5% decline in earnings for the third quarter, but sales were up 9%, thanks again to the performances of the antidepressant/fibromyalgia blockbuster Cymbalta and the lung cancer drug Alimta.

Net income was $1.24 billion, hit by higher marketing and administrative expenses, plus costs associated with the company’s diabetes collaboration with Boehringer Ingelheim and $45 million due to the mandatory pharmaceutical manufacturers fee associated with US health care reform.

Turnover came in at $6.15 billion, boosted by strong overseas sales (+15%), and revenues from Cymbalta (duloxetine) stormed up 29% to $1.07 billion. Alimta (pemetrexed) increased 12% to $629.7 million.

Lilly’s best-selling drug continues to be the antipsychotic Zyprexa (olanzapine), which had turnover of $1.19 billion (-3%) but it probably will not be for much longer. The drug has lost patent exclusivity in most of Europe last month and protection in the USA disappears in a couple of days (October 23). While Lilly says "it is difficult to predict the precise timing and magnitude" of the impact on Zyprexa sales, the introduction of generics will result in "a rapid and severe decline".

Of Lilly’s other products, the insulin products Humalog and Humulin increased 20% and 8% respectively, to $593.2 million and $301.5 million. The osteoporosis drug Evista (raloxifene), which is also approved for the prevention of breast cancer for certain postmenopausal women, had revenues of $270.1 million, up 5%, while sales of Lilly’s other osteoporosis drug Forteo (teriparatide) increased 20% to $240.3 million. The erectile dysfunction drug Cialis (tadalafil) rose 16% to $469.8 million, while the attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder drug Strattera (atomoxetine) generated $153.2 million of sales, an increase of 20%.

The chemotherapy Gemzar (gemcitabine) sank 72% to $91.0 million, due to generic competition, while Lilly’s share of revenues from the type 2 diabetes treatment Byetta (exenatide), which is sold in partnership with Amylin, reached $106.7 million, up 4%. The cancer agent Erbitux (cetuximab) brought in $97.2 million, up 2%, while worldwide sales of the bloodthinner Effient (prasugrel) which is partnered with Daiichi Sankyo, came in at $83.5 million, up from $71.7 million in the second quarter of 2011. Lilly's Elanco animal health unit brought in $451.0 million, up 28%.

John Lechleiter, Lilly's chief executive, said that “as we face the loss of patent exclusivity for Zyprexa in most major markets, we are well-prepared as a company to meet the challenges before us. We remain committed to our innovation-based strategy and are focused on delivering the next wave of new medicines to patients in the coming years.”  The firm's clinical pipeline now contains 66 potential new drugs, including 10 in Phase III.