Eli Lilly Fined for Breaching Australian Ban on Direct-to-Consumer Ads

Eli Lilly has been fined A$60,000 for issuing a media release promoting a version of its erectile dysfunction drug Cialis despite an Australian ban on direct-to-consumer advertising. In April Eli Lilly released Cialis Once-a-Day. To coincide with its launch, the company issued a media release headlined "New research reveals scheduled sex a turn-off," which promoting the results of a Lilly-commissioned opinion poll. The poll claimed that 74 per cent of Australian men said "spontaneity ... is an important part of sex." The Australian Consumers Association and Dr. Ken Harvey lodged complaints under the self-regulatory code of conduct operated by the drug industry's peak body, Medicines Australia. The Australian's health editor, Adam Creswell, reports that the minutes of the code of conduct committee state that Lilly's media release "included overly positive statements about the benefits of once-a-day treatment."