The 10th largest pharmaceutical company in the world today, Lilly is the developer of Cialis, a branded medication used in the treatment of erectile dysfunction.

Background

Lilly was established in 1876 in Indianapolis, by founder Eli Lilly, a former Union army colonel and chemist. It began life as a medical wholesaler in a two-story building, recording just shy of $4,500 in turnover during its first year or trading. Today, the company operates in 55 countries worldwide, employs over 40,000 people, and in 2013 recorded a revenue of $23bn.

Throughout its 140-year history, Lilly has made a number of innovations in the healthcare industry. It was instrumental in developing the first effective insulin treatment for diabetes, and was one of the pioneers in the mass production of antibiotic medicine during the 1940s.

Development of Cialis

The drug tadalafil, which was originally formulated by a working partnership of Glaxo Wellcome (now GSK) and ICOS in the early 1990s, was not initially developed with erectile dysfunction in mind; it was first intended for the treatment of angina and other cardiovascular illnesses.

Following the clinical success of sildenafil (another PDE5 inhibitor originally developed for angina) at treating erectile dysfunction, the research focus of tadalafil was also realigned towards this condition.

In 1996, Glaxo let the relationship with ICOS lapse, as the treatments being researched in the partnership were not in the interests of its core business. Subsequently, ICOS entered into a partnership with Lilly in 1998 (later being absorbed by Lilly), to continue the research.

Upon further development, the drug was found to have a much longer duration of activity than other PDE5 inhibitors, remaining functional for up to 36 hours.

Release of Cialis

Cialis was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2003, and made available for sale. Another version, Cialis Daily, which contains smaller doses of 2.5 and 5mg, but is designed to be taken once a day for better round-the-clock erectile function, was also released.

In 2011, the drug was also approved for the treatment of enlarged prostate (or BPH) and where suitable, can be prescribed cases where both this condition and ED are present.

Patent

The patent to produce Cialis is currently held by Lilly, and has been ever since the product was launched in 2003. This means that only Lilly is currently able to manufacture and sell Cialis (or tadalafil for ED) in the US and Europe.

In 2017 this patent is due to expire, and other pharmaceutical companies in these regions will be able to produce Cialis as a generic drug (under the name tadalafil).

Until then however, tadalafil remains the marketing property of Lilly, and is only available on prescription.

For those buying ED medication online, this is especially important to remember. At present, the only version of Cialis legally available for purchase in the UK is the branded version made by Lilly. Any site offering to supply cheap or generic Cialis or tadalafil to buy is not legally allowed to do so, and should be avoided.

We will report further on this when the situation changes. Until then, refer to our information page for more on safe buying practices when using online pharmacies.