PETA to Cialis-Maker Eli Lilly: ‘Don’t Be a Limp D*ck’

For Immediate Release:
May 2, 2022

Contact:
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Indianapolis – In a thrust to persuade Eli Lilly—the maker of erectile dysfunction drug Cialis—to ban a cruel, discredited test that forces small animals to swim for their lives, PETA has plastered a provocative message across the company’s hometown: “Don’t Be a Limp D*ck.”

In the forced swim test, mice, hamsters, or other small animals are often dosed with a test substance, placed in inescapable beakers filled with water, and made to swim to keep from drowning, purportedly to test potential antidepressant drugs. It’s been criticized heavily by scientists who argue that floating isn’t a sign of depression or despair, as some claim, but rather a positive indicator of learning, saving energy, and adapting to a new environment. Following talks with PETA, Johnson & Johnson, Bayer, GlaxoSmithKline, AbbVie, Roche, AstraZeneca, Novo Nordisk A/S, Boehringer Ingelheim, Pfizer, and Bristol Myers Squibb have dropped the test.

“Eli Lilly’s flaccid leadership is clinging to a cruel and worthless test that leaves gentle animals gasping for air,” says PETA Senior Scientist Dr. Emily Trunnell. “PETA is calling on CEO David Ricks to ban this scientifically discredited atrocity, just as other major pharmaceutical companies have already done.”

In July 2021, U.K. scientists concluded in a scientific paper that the forced swim test can’t predict the efficacy of potential new antidepressant drugs. An article published in STAT confirmed that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn’t require the test. Regulators and government officials in the European Union and New Zealand have criticized it. In August, a peer-reviewed paper by PETA neuroscientist Dr. Emily Trunnell that was published in Drug Discovery Today examined the use of the test by Eli Lilly and other companies and revealed that it wasn’t successful in determining whether a substance would be effective in treating human depression. And in December, scientists from Johns Hopkins University, the University of Winchester, and other esteemed institutions found that its use wasn’t furthering clinical depression research.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind