Lilly reps tout blood test to boost Effient

The clotbuster Effient is one of Eli Lilly's (NYSE: LLY) great new hopes, but the drug's early sales haven't exactly been overwhelming. As the New York Times points out, the first three quarters' worth of sales totaled just $35 million. In short, Lilly has found that it's not easy to compete against Plavix, one of the world's major blockbusters. 

But Plavix doesn't work optimally for some patients, and Lilly is fully aware of this. The drugmaker has a new sales strategy aimed at taking advantage of that. Lilly sales reps will tout a blood test from Accumetrics that measures actual clotting ability in patients taking anti-clotting drugs.

The idea is to identify Plavix patients who could benefit from a switch to Effient. Accumetrics President Timothy Still tells the NYT that his diagnostic test indicates that Plavix doesn't work as well as it could in some one-third patients using it. Still says his test is faster than a genetic test that's often used to ID patients who don't do so well on Plavix. But it is unknown if doctors will adopt it--and then follow through by switching patients to the Lilly drug.

- read the New York Times story