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Drug Sales Drive Lilly Earnings Up

April 20, 1998

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ Sales growth from the antipsychosis drug Zyprexa and other new products helped drive up Eli Lilly and Co. earnings 20 percent during the first quarter, the company said today.

Lilly said it earned $521.1 million, or 46 cents per share, during the January-March period, compared with $432.6 million, or 38 cents per share, during the first three months of 1997.

Sales rose 16 percent to $2.27 billion from $1.95 billion, with 86 percent of the sales growth coming from new drugs.

Leading the way was Zyprexa, the schizophrenia treatment launched 18 months ago whose sales rose $181.8 million from the year-ago period to $287.2 million.

Also promising is Evista, the anti-osteoporosis drug Lilly launched during the first quarter, with sales of $33.2 million.

Lilly also is studying Evista’s ability to prevent breast cancer, and the results of clinical trials involving 19,000 woman are due to be presented next month to the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Los Angeles.

The Wall Street Journal reported today that the results of one trial show the incidence of new breast cancers was reduced 74 percent in women who took Evista over an average of two years and five months.

Lilly spokesman Ed West said he could not comment specifically on the trial data but said the company was aggressively studying Evista’s ability to prevent breast cancer and also to lower cholesterol in postmenopausal women.

``We are encouraged by these data and the implications that the data may have for postmenopausal women. The breast cancer data coming from these trials is very encouraging,″ West said.

Lilly’s biggest moneymaker continues to be the antidepressant Prozac, whose sales rose 10 percent during the first quarter to $617.6 million

The first-quarter earnings were hurt by a charge of $7.2 million, or a penny per share, to refinance long-term debt.

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