Over-counter sales sought for Cialis

Sanofi and Eli Lilly on Wednesday said they would ask health regulators for permission to sell Cialis, the world’s top-selling anti-impotence drug, without a prescription.

Currently available by prescription only, the tablet was first approved by the European Medicines Agency in 2002 and then by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2003.

It is one of Lilly’s biggest products, having generated almost $2.2 billion in worldwide sales last year. The drug is also approved to treat enlarged prostate glands.

Under the terms of the agreement, Sanofi is buying the exclusive rights to apply for approval of Cialis tablets over the counter in the United States, Europe, Canada and Australia. Terms of the licensing agreement were not disclosed.

It remains to be seen, however, whether regulators will allow Cialis to be sold without a prescription, in view of possible side effects. Like rival anti-impotence drugs, such as Pfizer’s Viagra, Cialis can cause a dangerous fall in blood pressure if taken with nitrates, a class of heart drugs that include nitroglycerin.

— Reuters

Also in Business

A prison sentence approaching 20 years would be an appropriate punishment for Mathew Martoma, a former SAC Capital Advisors fund manager convicted of insider trading, U.S. court officials said, prompting his lawyers to object strenuously. In a court filing late Tuesday, lawyers for Martoma urged U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe in Manhattan to show leniency and impose a lesser sentence than the 11-year prison term given to Galleon Group hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam for his 2011 insider trading conviction. Martoma faces sentencing June 10 following his Feb. 6 fraud conviction for seeking and trading on confidential tips about a clinical trial for an Alzheimer’s drug.

U.S. banks’ earnings declined 7.7 percent in the January-March quarter from a year earlier, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. reported, as higher interest rates dampened demand for mortgage refinancing and reduced banks’ revenue from the mortgage business. It was only the second time in the past 19 quarters that the banking industry, which has been recovering from the financial crisis, posted a decline in net income from the year-earlier quarter. The FDIC said the banking industry earned $37.2 billion in the first quarter of this year, down from $40.3 billion in the same period in 2013.

The Federal Trade Commission said the maker of Lice Shield shampoos and sprays has settled charges that its ads misled consumers. The FTC said cosmetics company Lornamead has agreed to pay $500,000 and to stop saying in ads and on packaging that its products can prevent head lice. The agency said Lornamead doesn’t have enough proof that its Lice Shield shampoos, sticks and sprays can prevent kids from getting head lice.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals has pumped more cash into its bid for Botox maker Allergan. The Canadian drugmaker said it will now offer $58.30 and a portion of its stock for each Allergan share. The revised bid could be worth more than $50 billion, based on Tuesday’s closing price for U.S.-traded shares of Valeant. But it still may not be enough to get Allergan to the negotiating table, analysts said. Allergan said it would carefully review the new proposal.

The hackers are winning, according to a survey of 500 executives of U.S. businesses, law enforcement services and government agencies. Three out of four respondents said they had detected a security breach in the past year, and the average number of security intrusions was 135 per organization, the 12th annual survey of cybercrime trends found. The survey was co-sponsored by business consulting firm PwC, the U.S. Secret Service, the CERT Division of Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute and CSO security news magazine.

The CEO of Exxon Mobil said U.S. sanctions against Russian officials are having no effect on his company’s activities there. Rex Tillerson made the comments after Exxon Mobil Corp.’s annual meeting in Dallas. U.S. sanctions over Russia’s annexation of Crimea have targeted the president of Russia’s largest oil company, Rosneft, but not the company itself. Exxon has an exploration and production agreement with Rosneft in the Russian Arctic and Siberia.

— From news services

Coming Today

8:30 a.m.: First-quarter gross domestic product and weekly jobless claims.

10 a.m.: Pending home sales for April and weekly mortgage rates.