Lilly wants people with Type 2 diabetes to treat their diabetes differently with new Mounjaro campaign

Eli Lilly has officially launched its consumer campaign for its new Type 2 diabetes drug Mounjaro as it looks to bolster its blockbuster potential.

The DTC spot for the once weekly shot is also available in Spanish, with different actors, and emphasizes removing the worry around Type 2 diabetes. The TV ads follow the initial rollout of digital ads earlier this year.

Around 37 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, and, of those, approximately 9 in 10 have Type 2 diabetes. According to a Lilly spokesperson, “Despite available treatment options, many patients living with type 2 diabetes do not achieve the recommended blood sugar goals. The campaign aims to increase awareness about Mounjaro among adults with type 2 diabetes.”

Amid all the fanfare around the off-label weight-loss use of diabetes drugs, such as Novo Nordisk's Ozempic and now including Mounjaro, it’s important to remember what they are actually for: Type 2 diabetes. Last October, Lilly adjusted its discount program for the drug requiring people to attest that they have Type 2 diabetes and comes after a social media trend that saw celebrities and others use these diabetes drugs off-label to try to lose weight, causing shortages for the companies and consternation from diabetes patients.

Lilly is hoping to gain a second license for Mounjaro specifically for weight loss (but is for now focused on just its approved indication), pitting it against Novo's Wegovy, a slightly tweaked version of Ozempic that is licensed to help certain people lose weight. 

“Because Mounjaro is only approved by the FDA for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, our priority is making sure Mounjaro is available to people with type 2 diabetes. Lilly does not promote or encourage the off-label use of any of our medicines,” a spokesperson from Lilly said in an email.

Mounjaro nabbed FDA approval in May 2022 and is the first and only approved treatment in a different class of medication for Type 2 diabetes.

The once-a-week dose directly activates glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide and glucagon-like peptide-1 pathways to help regulate blood sugar.

The drug is also on the FDA “fast track” for use as a weight loss drug. Lilly is expecting an application and approval later this year and is set to make major blockbuster sales.