Eli Lilly has posted double-digit declines in sales and earnings for the second quarter, hit by patent expiries on the antipsychotic Zyprexa, but the results were better than expected.

Net income sank 23% to $923.6 million, also hit by restructuring costs, while turnover came in at $5.60 billion, down 10%. The best performer was the antidepressant/fibromyalgia blockbuster Cymbalta (duloxetine), which stormed up 22% to $1.22 billion, while the lung cancer drug Alimta (pemetrexed) increased 8% to $659.5 million. The insulin products Humalog and Humulin increased 4% and fell 3% respectively, to $613.4 million and $303.0 million.

Zyprexa (olanzapine) had turnover of $379.5 million, a fall of 73% (and down 96% in the USA to just $29.8 million). The osteoporosis drug Evista (raloxifene), which is also approved for the prevention of breast cancer for certain postmenopausal women, edged up 1% to $265.9 million, while sales of Lilly’s other osteoporosis drug Forteo (teriparatide) increased 20% to $276.4 million. The erectile dysfunction drug Cialis (tadalafil) slipped 2% to $469.5 million, while the attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder drug Strattera (atomoxetine) generated $153.0 million of sales, down 3%.

The cancer agent Erbitux (cetuximab) brought in $111.0 million, up 10%, while sales of the bloodthinner Effient (prasugrel) which is partnered with Daiichi Sankyo, shot up 55% to $111.0 million. Sales at Lilly's Elanco animal health unit leapt 32% to $512.2 million.

John Lechleiter, Lilly's chief executive, said that despite the continued decline in Zyprexa sales in most major markets outside Japan, Cymbalta, Alimta, Forteo and Effient performed well and "we drove solid growth in both China and Japan". Indeed the company has upped its 2012 earnings per share forecast to $3.29-$3.39 from $3.14-$3.29 per share, due to "our strong underlying sales performance, combined with the favourable impact from a stronger dollar", he added.

Dr Lechleiter added that "we also remain committed to reducing our expense base through productivity gains and cost-cutting initiatives, and to advancing our pipeline of potential new medicines".