Animal programs

Eli Lilly CEO lies — on video — about animal testing and competitors

For immediate release:
May 2, 2022

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Indianapolis – At an event in Indiana earlier this month, an animal advocate filmed herself confronting Eli Lilly CEO David Ricks over his company’s refusal to ban the discredited test of forced swimming. PETA releases the damning video, available here, to expose Ricks’ false and misleading claims. In the test, mice and other small animals are often dosed with a test substance and forced to swim in beakers of water to avoid drowning, allegedly to develop drugs to treat human depression.

The Truth Dispelling the Lies of Ricks includes the following:

  • Researchers currently use human cell-based systems, drug rerouting programs and other state-of-the-art non-animal methods to develop antidepressants, but Ricks said there is no replacement for the test. archaic forced swimming.
  • Pharmaceutical giants such as AbbVie, Boehringer Ingelheim, Johnson & Johnson and Sage Therapeutics have all banned the test and are currently developing antidepressants, but Ricks said only companies that have ended their antidepressant research have banned the test. .
  • More than 20,000 people who use Eli Lilly’s products have urged the company to ban the forced swim test, but Ricks says it “responds to the patients we serve”.

“David Ricks apparently feels compelled to lie and keep stone age antidepressant development going, even as he fails those who desperately need treatment,” says PETA neuroscientist Dr. Emily Trunnell. “PETA is asking him to recognize that there are better tools than watching panicked animals struggle to stay out of water and ban this senseless test.”

The forced swim, or desperation, test has been heavily criticized by scientists who say that when mice start to float it is not a sign of depression or despair, but rather a positive indicator of learning, d saving energy and adapting to a new environment. Eli Lilly has tormented 3,400 mice and rats in this test since 1993, and none of the drugs he has attempted to develop using it are available for public use. Experts have claimed that faulty animal testing is one of the main reasons why antidepressants fail more than 90% of the time before reaching the market.

PETA’s campaign against Eli Lilly has included ads, tens of thousands of consumer emails, attendance at annual meetings, and numerous protests, including outside Ricks’ home.

PETA — whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment with” — opposes speciesism, a human supremacist worldview. For more information about PETA’s news gathering and investigative reporting, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebookor instagram.