Eli Lilly Has a Customer Service Meltdown When PETA Comes Calling

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2 min read

PETA is determined to stop cruel and useless experiments on animals. To date, we’ve successfully persuaded several top pharmaceutical giants to ban the ridiculous forced swim test. And now, we’re calling on industry leader Eli Lilly to do the same. More than a thousand conscientious people phoned the company last week to urge it to permanently end the near-drowning test, and 750 of them have told us about their experiences with testy Eli Lilly customer service employees.

eil lilly forced swim test campaign

Eli Lilly employees treated PETA supporters rudely and tried to intimidate them when they called the company to urge it to ban the forced swim test. Multiple callers reported that an employee told them that their phone number was being “traced” or “tracked.”

Here’s what other callers had to say about their interaction with Eli Lilly customer service:

“Good luck with this company. They don’t listen. Don’t care.”


“Very hostile tone of voice used by the operator.”


“I was told that Eli Lilly ‘does not take consumer complaint calls’ and was directed to write a letter.”


“Deliberate obstruction.”


“Operator said, ‘Sorry, I put down headset & wasn’t listening.’”

Eli Lilly isn’t willing to listen, but its rivals are. After discussions with PETA, companies including Eli Lilly competitors Bayer, AstraZeneca, Novo Nordisk A/S, Johnson & Johnson, AbbVie, Roche, Boehringer Ingelheim, Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Sage Therapeutics all announced that they would no longer conduct or fund this cruel test.

Eli Lilly is getting left behind.

What Mice and Rats Endure in the Forced Swim Test

In the widely discredited forced swim test, mice and other small animals are dropped into inescapable beakers filled with water. Terrified, they’re forced to swim in order to keep from drowning. It’s claimed that the length of time that they struggle somehow sheds light on the effectiveness of antidepressant medications in humans. But the test is less predictive of human reaction to antidepressants than a coin toss.

At least 3,400 small animals were subjected to this torment by Eli Lilly employees. Unsurprisingly, the test didn’t reliably predict the success of a single medication in humans. Even Eli Lilly’s bestselling drug, Prozac, hasn’t yielded consistent results when studied in forced swim tests. Yet the company refuses to abandon it and pursue modern, human-relevant, animal-free research.

How You Can Help Mice and Rats

While Eli Lilly dies on a hill defending junk science that its competitors have left behind, mice and rats are dying in labs. You can help stop animals from suffering in the forced swim test today:

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