Lundbeck's EU lobbying yields political boost for anti-alcohol med Selincro

Last month, the European Parliament voted to push the European Commission to take a harder stance on curbing alcohol's harmful health effects. And Lundbeck, which markets alcoholism drug Selincro, did its part to make that happen.

The Danish drugmaker mobilized members of Parliament, anti-alcohol NGOs and academics, and ran anti-alcohol campaigns behind the scenes, Politico reports, going up against lobbyists with pro-alcohol interests that rallied against many of the recommendations. Ultimately, Lundbeck came away victorious when the EC advised member states to "implement policies and treatments within their healthcare systems that reduce alcohol addiction in individuals."

Selincro, which works to stem alcohol cravings, is one such treatment, and Lundbeck--struggling after major generics hits to Lexapro and Cipralex--has been working hard to promote its use on a continent that's rife with alcohol dependence. Since 2013, Lundbeck has shelled out more than €315,000 ($344,000) to patient organizations in Europe for anti-alcohol campaigns, Politico notes.

And so far, they've worked. That year, those awareness campaigns ran in countries including Belgium, France, Germany, and the U.K. that had not yet decided whether to fund Selincro with their public health budgets, and now, all of those are doing so.

Those decisions have helped the med pick up steam, recording first-quarter 2015 sales of 41 million crowns. But Lundbeck will need more than that to right the ship: Overall, it posted a $4.8 million loss before interest and taxes in the period, it said earlier this month.

Lundbeck CEO Kåre Schultz

But the foundering company has another weapon, and that's newly minted CEO Kåre Schultz--who, until accepting the Lundbeck job, was widely regarded as next in line for the top spot at Novo Nordisk ($NVO). The pharma is hoping its incoming skipper, who helped keep diabetes specialist Novo growing as its chief operating officer and president, can turn things around, and that'll mean "exploring all possible avenues to increase sales," Lundbeck chairman Haakon Bjorklund recently told Reuters.

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