Big Pharma Goes D2C With Launch Of LillyDirect



Seemingly for the first time ever, a major pharmaceutical company has gone D2C, with this morning’s debut of Lilly Direct from Eli Lilly and Company.

The move comes on the heels of Lilly’s recent launch of Zepbound into the red-hot weight-loss category.

LillyDirect connects consumers with independent telehealth providers who prescribe drugs fulfilled through LillyDirect’s own pharmacy.

The telehealth doctors come through Form Health, reports NBC News.

The pharmacy fulfillment runs over the Truepill platform, which also powers such other D2C pharma marketers as Mark Cuban’s Cost Plus Drugs and GoodRx.

In addition to Zepbound for obesity, LillyDirect offers insulin products for diabetes and Emgality for migraine headaches.

Interestingly, the LillyDirect website does not list Lilly’s Mounjaro, approved by the FDA for both diabetes and weight loss, as one of its available products. Marketing Daily reached out to Lilly for an explanation, and was told that “Right now, we are direct shipping a limited number of products. As we continually assess the program, we will consider adding additional medicines.”



Today’s move puts Lilly "ahead of the curve" as D2C “is ideal for obesity medications,” BMO Capital Markets analyst Evan Siegerman told Reuters.

But Arthur Caplan, head of the division of medical ethics at New York’s NYU Langone Medical Center, told NBC that a pharma  company using telemedicine to move its own drugs, “creates at least the appearance of conflict of interest.”

Lilly, while the first pharma company to do so, isn’t the only entity venturing into the D2C drug arena for the first time.

Just a few weeks ago, WW, formerly Weight Watchers, began selling Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic and Wegovy in addition to Zepbound.

In early trading this morning, Lilly stock was up while WW’s was down.

"A complex U.S. healthcare system adds to the burdens patients face when managing a chronic disease.,” David A. Ricks, Lilly's chair and CEO, said in the company's announcement. “With LillyDirect, our goal is to relieve some of those burdens by simplifying the patient experience to help improve outcomes.”

"We launched LillyDirect with the hope that it will offer patients an innovative end-to-end experience to manage their health and access their medicines, so they can get back to living their lives," added Frank Cunningham, Lilly’s group vice president, global value and access.

Lilly said that future updates to LillyDirect “may include new products, partners and services, such as programs designed to help patients with adherence to their medicines.”

Next story loading loading..