Eli Lilly's CEO Refuses to Ban Near-Drowning of Small Animals
PETA Allies Confront Eli Lilly CEO at Purdue Over Near-Drowning Test on Animals
August 31, 2022
A group of PETA supporters crashed Purdue University’s seventh annual Lilly Day fireside chat at Stewart Center, where they stormed the stage to confront Eli Lilly CEO David Ricks and interrupted his talk with Purdue President Mitch Daniels in order to expose the pharmaceutical company’s shameful refusal to ban the cruel forced swim test.
Eli Lilly Alters Prozac Materials; PETA Maintains Call to Ban the Cruel Forced Swim Test
July 19, 2022
A recent PETA blog post exposed an apparent attempt by Eli Lilly to avoid defending the use of the cruel forced swim test by altering informational materials on its best seller, Prozac.
Prozac’s monograph—or the informational materials about a drug that may be required for safe and effective use of it—used to contain the following statement: “For instance, fluoxetine [Prozac] does not antagonize reserpine- or apomorphine-induced hypothermia in mice, and does not reduce immobility in the forced swimming test in rats.”
Now, that part about the forced swim test is no longer included in the documentation.
PETA U.K. Scientist Shares Forced Swim Test Info at Animal Welfare Conference
June 28, 2022
PETA U.K. scientist and animal behavior expert Dr. Kimberley Jayne presented a poster titled “Welfare and Scientific Limitations of the Forced Swim Test” at the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare conference in Edinburgh, Scotland. Conference attendees flocked to the poster to learn more about the test, and PETA U.K.’s presence was well received. The group has written to the U.K’s Animals in Science Regulation Unit—which grants permission for and places restrictions on animal experiments—asking the agency to implement a policy position against the use of the forced swim test.
PETA Confronts Eli Lilly Exec at Encore Hotel in Las Vegas
May 10, 2022
PETA supporters crashed the Bank of America Securities 2022 Healthcare Conference at the Encore hotel in Las Vegas, where they shouted down Eli Lilly Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer Daniel Skovronsky during his speech. It’s the latest in an effort to expose the pharmaceutical company’s shameful refusal to ban the vile forced swim test.
Eli Lilly CEO Lies—on Video—About Animal Tests, Competitors
May 2, 2022
At an event in Indiana, an animal advocate filmed herself confronting Eli Lilly CEO David Ricks over his company’s refusal to ban the discredited forced swim test. PETA is releasing the damning video to expose Ricks’ false and misleading statements. In the test, mice and other small animals are often dosed with a test substance and forced to swim in beakers of water to keep from drowning, purportedly to develop drugs to treat human depression.
The truth dispelling his lies includes the following:
- Researchers are currently employing human cell–based systems, drug-repurposing programs, and other cutting-edge, non-animal research methods to develop antidepressant drugs, but Ricks claimed that there was no replacement for the archaic forced swim test.
- Pharmaceutical giants such as AbbVie, Boehringer Ingelheim, Johnson & Johnson, and Sage Therapeutics have all banned the test and are actively developing antidepressant drugs—but Ricks claimed that only companies that 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 claims that he “answers to the patients we serve.”
Learn more here.
PETA to Cialis-Maker Eli Lilly: ‘Don’t Be a Limp D*ck’
April 30, 2022
In a push 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 plastered a provocative message across the company’s hometown of Indianapolis: “Don’t Be a Limp D*ck.”
If We Don’t Have a Seat at the Table, We’ll Make One!
April 20, 2022
A group of PETA supporters crashed The Economic Club of Indiana’s luncheon at the Indiana Convention Center on S. Capitol Avenue, where they stormed the stage and interrupted Eli Lilly CEO David Ricks’ speech in order to expose the pharmaceutical company’s shameful refusal to ban the cruel forced swim test.
PETA to Cialis-Maker Eli Lilly: ‘Don’t Be a Limp D*ck’
March 18, 2022
In a thrust to get Eli Lilly, the maker of erectile dysfunction drug Cialis, to stand at attention and ban a cruel, discredited test that forces small animals to swim for their lives, PETA unveiled a new graphic and plastered its provocative message—“Don’t Be a Limp D*ck”—across Eli Lilly Vice President Janine Morris’ neighborhood in Annapolis, Maryland, and on social media.
PETA’s ‘Mouse’ Makes a Special Holiday Delivery to Eli Lilly CEO David Ricks
December 20, 2021
With Santa’s bag in tow, a PETA “mouse” made her way to Eli Lilly CEO David Ricks’ front door to deliver well-deserved lumps of coal with a message to ban the ho-ho-horrible forced swim tests.
Philly Activists Have a Message for Eli Lilly Executives: Ban the Forced Swim Test Now!
September 30, 2021
When PETA found out that Eli Lilly representatives would be at the Digital Pharma East conference, we knew we had to seize the opportunity to keep pressure on the company to ban the forced swim test. After a little reconnaissance, a dozen protesters set up right in front of the entrance to the conference. Led by reliable Marianne Bessey, activists engaged with passersby and conference attendees and handed out dozens of leaflets. The response was overwhelmingly in favor of banning the cruel and useless forced swim test.
Hey, Eli Lilly, All Your Competitors Banned the Forced Swim Test—Why Won’t You?
September 16, 2021
A mischief of “mice” scampered to Eli Lilly’s headquarters to urge the company to ban the cruel and scientifically worthless forced swim test. The “mice” also had a large banner that asked, “They All Banned the Forced Swim Test—Why Won’t You?” while listing all of Eli Lilly’s competitors that have banned the test, including Bayer, Johnson & Johnson, Bristol Myers Squibb, and Pfizer.
PETA Activists Decorate Eli Lilly CEO’s Neighborhood
September 15, 2021
Mouse defenders dropped by Eli Lilly CEO David Ricks’ neighborhood and spray-painted a message in behalf of mice: “Ban Forced Swim Test Now!”
New PETA Paper Exposes Forced Swim Test Flaws
August 19, 2021
PETA neuroscientist Dr. Emily Trunnell—along with psychologist Dr. Constança Carvalho—has coauthored a paper that was just published in the esteemed journal Drug Discovery Today. The paper examined the use of the forced swim test by the top 15 pharmaceutical companies in the world to show that it wasn’t successful in determining whether a test substance would be effective in treating human depression. After being privately presented with some of the data reported in this paper, 15 companies and two universities banned the forced swim test—preventing countless animals from being subjected to it. This new paper is another nail in the cruel test’s coffin. Read more about the paper here.
U.K. Agency Representatives Condemn Cruel Near-Drowning Tests and Others
July 8, 2021
In a huge victory for both animals and science, following urging from PETA, it’s been recommended that the use of the forced swim test to model human depression be ended in the U.K. Influential scientists working for the country’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency concluded in a scientific paper published online that this and similar animal tests cannot predict the efficacy of potential new antidepressant drugs. The authors cite PETA’s work with pharmaceutical companies to end the experiment, in which small animals, often dosed with a test substance, are dropped into beakers of water and forced to swim for their lives. After reviewing the evidence and seeking input from experts, the authors agree: The forced swim test is not a model of depression and could even end up ruling out effective new drugs for humans. Now that its absurdity has been recognized by U.K. animal-experiment regulators, who commissioned the paper, Eli Lilly must heed this guidance and ban the forced swim test.
PETA Exposes Eli Lilly’s Long History of Animal Torment
July 6, 2021
In a letter sent to Eli Lilly’s board of directors, PETA exposes the company’s long history of invasive experiments on hundreds of dogs, pigs, monkeys, and other animals and urges it to turn over a new leaf by banning the forced swim test.
In just one experiment, according to a journal article published in 2020, Eli Lilly paid a laboratory to open the chests of dogs and pigs surgically, insert tubes into their blood vessels, and pump them full of an experimental protein to see its effect on their blood pressure and heart rate. The animals were then killed and their hearts cut out and examined.
In the last decade, the company has been hiring contract laboratories to perform many of its experiments on animals—which means that it doesn’t have to report to the government the number of animals it harms and kills. In 2008, one of the last years that Eli Lilly reported numbers of these species to the government, it used more than 2,200 animals—including 784 dogs, 424 monkeys, and 424 rabbits—in various tests. These numbers don’t include mice, rats, and others who aren’t covered under the Animal Welfare Act, the only federal law that offers minimum protections to animals in laboratories.
PETA’s Mobile Billboard Takes the Campaign to Ban Eli Lilly’s Cruel Forced Swim Test to the Streets
May 30, 2021
PETA’s mobile billboard urging Eli Lilly to ban the cruel and archaic forced swim test on mice and rats wheeled down Indianapolis streets and through busy strip mall parking lots on Memorial Day weekend, informing the public about the cruelty inherent in the test.
New PETA Ad Targets Eli Lilly’s Cruel Test
April 22, 2021
“Eli Lilly’s Forced Swim Test: The Science Doesn’t Hold Water.” That’s the eye-catching message on a new PETA billboard now up near the Eli Lilly New Jersey office urging the company CEO David Ricks to ban the cruel forced swim test on mice and rats.
PETA ‘Pill Bottle’ Rattles Eli Lilly Over Forced Swim Test
February 25, 2021
A PETA supporter wearing a pill bottle costume depicting a terrified mouse and holding a sign reading, “Eli Lilly: Ban the Forced Swim Test,” led socially distanced protests outside two Indianapolis pharmacies that sell Eli Lilly prescriptions—one of them located mere blocks from the pharmaceutical company’s headquarters. The protesters pointed out that Eli Lilly has tormented 3,400 mice and rats in the forced swim test since 1993, with nothing to show for it.
PETA Launches a New Action Alert Targeting Eli Lilly Customers
February 4, 2021
PETA launched a new action alert—“Tell This Drug Giant to Ban Near-Drowning Tests”—asking Eli Lilly customers to let the company know it’s time to ban tormenting animals in bogus forced swim tests that help no one.
PETA Presents Eli Lilly With ‘Pants on Fire’ Award for Deceiving the Public
January 26, 2021
Even after Eli Lilly came under fire from PETA for refusing to ban the forced swim test—in which experimenters often dose small animals with a test substance, drop them into inescapable water-filled beakers, and watch them frantically paddle to avoid drowning—the pharmaceutical giant still hasn’t officially prohibited it. Instead, the company glosses over the cruelty to which it has subjected at least 3,400 curious, intelligent mice and rats in tests https://www.peta.org/blog/eli-lilly-virtual-annual-shareholder-meeting-forced-swim-test/ the success of a single medication in humans. Eli Lilly is misleading the public with statements that it hasn’t used the test “for some time.” In fact, the company published papers saying that it performed the forced swim test on mice—who are family-oriented and develop emotional attachments to one another—as recently as March 2019.
Eli Lilly Chief Scientific Officer Faces Home Protest Over Forced Swim Tests
December 10, 2020
A “mischief of mice” descended on the home of Eli Lilly Chief Scientific Officer Daniel Skovronsky to demand that he ban the company’s use of the cruel forced swim test on animals. GlaxoSmithKline, Bayer, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Bristol Myers Squibb, and many other pharmaceutical companies have banned the test after discussions with PETA.
Protesters Deliver Thousands of Petitions Demanding a Ban on the Cruel Near-Drowning Test on Small Animals
November 17, 2020
A giant PETA “rat” scampered up the ramp to Eli Lilly’s headquarters in Indianapolis, pushing a dolly piled high with over 120,000 petitions demanding that the company ban the cruel forced swim test. PETA supporters gathered outside with signs proclaiming, “Forced Swim Test: Drowning Science.”
PETA U.K. Protests Outside Eli Lilly’s Planned Research Center in England
October 29, 2020
PETA supporters gathered in Bracknell, England—where Eli Lilly plans to set up a new research center—to protest the company’s support of the controversial forced swim test.
PETA Germany Protests in Front of Eli Lilly’s German Office
October 6, 2020
A group of PETA activists disguised as mice stood in front of Eli Lilly’s office in Bad Homburg, Germany, to urge the company to ban the forced swim test.
‘Pill Bottle’ Marches for Animals Outside Eli Lilly Facility in San Diego
September 16, 2020
A PETA supporter wearing a pill bottle costume depicting a mouse used in an experiment with the words “Lilly: Not Nice to Mice” led a socially distanced protest outside Eli Lilly’s research and development facility in San Diego, calling on the pharmaceutical company to ban the cruel forced swim test. The “pill bottle” and fellow protesters pointed out that the company has terrified 3,400 mice and rats in the test since 1993, with nothing to show for it.
‘Pill Bottle’ Demands a Ban on Cruel Near-Drowning Test on Small Animals at New Jersey Eli Lilly Facility
September 15, 2020
PETA supporters protested in front of an Eli Lilly facility located in Branchburg, New Jersey, urging CEO David Ricks to join Johnson & Johnson, AbbVie Inc., Roche, AstraZeneca, Novo Nordisk A/S, Boehringer Ingelheim, Pfizer, and Bristol Myers Squibb in banning the archaic and cruel forced swim test.
‘Pill Bottle’ Demands a Ban on Cruel Near-Drowning Test on Small Animals
September 9, 2020
PETA supporters protested in front of an Eli Lilly headquarters located in Indianapolis. “Eli Lilly needs to accept that nearly drowning mice is irrelevant to human depression,” says PETA neuroscientist Dr. Emily Trunnell. “It must follow the lead of other major pharmaceutical companies, including Johnson & Johnson, and ban this useless test.”
‘Lilly: Not Nice to Mice’ Message Hits Eli Lilly Headquarters
August 6, 2020
PETA supporters gathered outside Eli Lilly headquarters in Indianapolis with a giant banner that couldn’t be missed, urging the company to ban the cruel forced swim test on mice and rats. They also stenciled and chalked the sidewalk near the facility, sending similar messages to CEO David Ricks.
Chalking Near Home of Eli Lilly CEO David Ricks
July 2, 2020
A group of local PETA supporters gathered near the home of Eli Lilly’s CEO to decorate the streets with a message reading, “David Ricks: Ban Forced Swim Test Now.”
Eli Lilly CEO Faces Home Protest Over Forced Swim Tests
June 18, 2020
A giant “mouse” led a group of 12 PETA supporters wearing masks in a socially distanced protest outside the home of Eli Lilly CEO David Ricks to urge him to join other leading pharmaceutical companies—including Bristol Myers Squibb, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer—and ban the scientifically worthless and cruel forced swim test. Protesters held signs, chanted, and handed out leaflets to neighbors for nearly two hours.
PETA Slams Eli Lilly on NBC Boston
June 2, 2020
A PETA ad narrated by Floriana Lima aired on NBC Boston exposing how Eli Lilly is refusing to ban a test that’s designed to induce fear, panic, despair, trauma, and a sense of helplessness in animals and that’s irrelevant to humans suffering from mental illness.
Eli Lilly Has a Customer Service Meltdown When PETA Comes Calling
May 14, 2020
More than 1,000 compassionate PETA supporters phoned Eli Lilly urging it to end the near-drowning test permanently, and many reported speaking with testy customer service employees.
PETA Demands Eli Lilly Explain Forced Swim Test at Annual Meeting
May 4, 2020
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Eli Lilly’s annual meeting went virtual this year. As permitted by regulations, PETA asked the company to assess the effectiveness of the forced swim test and then report its findings to shareholders, forcing it to admit that the test doesn’t accurately predict whether a drug will work as a human antidepressant. It yields positive results for compounds that aren’t prescribed as human antidepressants—such as caffeine—and negative results for compounds that are. Even Eli Lilly’s bestseller Prozac hasn’t yielded consistent results when studied in forced swim tests.
“While the fear of drowning is very real for the animals involved in the forced swim test, the experience in no way represents the enduring and multidimensional nature of depression. When nine of Eli Lilly’s biggest competitors have banned this atrocity at PETA’s request, it’s baffling that it refuses to acknowledge that it’s defending archaic practices.”
—PETA neuroscientist Dr. Emily Trunnell
‘Mice’ Protest Eli Lilly CEO Over Forced Swim Test
January 14, 2020
Masked “mice” from PETA descended on the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, where Eli Lilly CEO David Ricks was slated to take the stage, wielding signs demanding that he “end the mouse torture” by banning the forced swim test.
‘Mouse’ in Tank Protests Forced Swim Test at Eli Lilly Annual Meeting in Indianapolis
May 6, 2019
A PETA “mouse” submerged in a tank outside Eli Lilly’s annual meeting at its Indianapolis headquarters urged the pharmaceutical company to ban its use of the forced swim test. PETA scientist Dr. Emily Trunnell attended the meeting to call on company executives to enact a policy against using the test.
The Punisher Star Floriana Lima Demands End to Near-Drowning Test
March 11, 2019
In a new video for PETA, Ohio native and Ohio State University (OSU) alumna Floriana Lima—known for her roles in FOX’s Lethal Weapon, Supergirl, and Netflix’s The Punisher—pulled back the curtain on the forced swim test. She called on OSU, the University of Cincinnati, and pharmaceutical giants Eli Lilly, Pfizer, and Bristol Myers Squibb to ban the cruel test.
Scientific American Publishes PETA Opinion Piece
December 20, 2018
PETA’s opinion piece titled, “Let’s Stop the Near-Drowning of Lab Animals,” was published in Scientific American. Regarding the test, we explained, “Scientists do it to test antidepressants, but it’s fantastically cruel—plus it doesn’t even work.”
PETA Submits Shareholder Resolutions Calling On Eli Lilly, Pfizer, AbbVie, and Bristol Myers Squibb to Modernize Tests for Antidepressants
November 13, 2018
PETA—which owns a small amount of stock in Eli Lilly, Pfizer, AbbVie, and Bristol Myers Squibb for the purpose of addressing shareholders directly on animal-testing issues—submitted shareholder resolutions calling on the four companies to enact policies against funding, conducting, or commissioning the forced swim test.
PETA Neuroscientist Calls On Big Pharma to Pull the Plug on Psychological Experiments on Mice and Rats
November 8, 2018
In letters to Eli Lilly, AbbVie, Bristol Myers Squibb, and Pfizer, PETA scientist Dr. Emily Trunnell made a scientific and ethical argument for pulling the plug on the use of the forced swim test. The issue was covered by leading industry news outlet STAT.
PETA Releases Scathing Scientific Critique of the Scientifically Worthless ‘Forced Swim Test,’ Which Induces Panic and Fear
November 8, 2018
PETA scientist Dr. Emily Trunnell prepared a scientific critique of the forced swim test, which is conducted by major pharmaceutical companies including Eli Lilly, Pfizer, and GlaxoSmithKline under the false premise that results are useful in finding antidepressants for humans. Together, pharmaceutical giants Eli Lilly, AbbVie, Bristol Myers Squibb, and Pfizer have subjected at least 5,461 mice, 1,066 rats, 748 gerbils, and 305 guinea pigs to the cruel test—as documented in 45 published papers and 16 patent applications over the past 30 years. PETA scientists identified 47 compounds that were tested on the animals and found that even though 36 of them showed promise as having antidepressant characteristics using the archaic forced swim test, none of these compounds is currently approved to treat human depression.