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Lilly Plans $30 Million Attack on Diabetes

Lilly plans $30M attack on diabetes [The Indianapolis Star]

From Indianapolis Star (IN) (September 13, 2011)

Sept. 13--Eli Lilly and Co. will spend $30 million over the next five years to find better ways to fight the scourge of diabetes in developing nations.

It's one of the largest outlays of money by the Indianapolis drug maker on disease treatment programs in non-Western countries.

Lilly will announce the program, called the Lilly NCD Partnership, today. The company also is sponsoring a conference in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to discuss the treatment of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes.

The move comes at the same time the United Nations is calling for global efforts to fight the rise in diabetes, cancer and other non-communicable diseases in developing nations.

Lilly, which helped develop the first U.S. commercial insulin for diabetes in the 1920s and has remained a leader in insulin production and sales ever since, will target its spending in Brazil, India, Mexico and South Africa, where the rates of diabetes run from 4.5 percent to 10.1 percent of the populations.

What's learned from the Lilly-sponsored programs will be made available to other countries through published medical papers and conferences, said Bart Peterson, senior vice president of corporate affairs and communications at Lilly.

"There will be aspects that are culturally unique," Peterson said of the program. But "a lot of what comes out of this will be actionable" by other countries.

Lilly is working with hospitals, health foundations and other groups in the four nations to identify new models of patient care and ways to treat diabetes more effectively and efficiently.

Peterson said governments that run publicly funded health care in the four countries are acutely interested in finding better ways to treat diabetes, a blood-sugar disorder that causes a host of ills in those afflicted.

Plans call for adding cancer care to the study program as well.

Part of the Lilly money will pay for program coordinators in each of the four countries, plus a small team of employees in Geneva, Switzerland, to manage the program.

It's the same team that runs Lilly's multidrug-resistant tuberculosis partnership launched in 2003 to treat TB patients in some of the poorest countries in the world.

For that program, Lilly made available its production know-how for one of its drugs that's effective against a new strain of hard-to-treat TB.


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Posted: September 2011