Donation of more than 800,000 insulin vials to provide free life-saving
medicine to an estimated 24,000 children over four years
INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Eli Lilly and Company today announced it intends to donate more than 800,000 vials of insulin to the International Diabetes Federation's Life for a Child Program, providing free life-saving medicine to as many as 24,000 children who currently have no access to diabetes treatment.
The initial focus of the donations will be to help children with diabetes in sub-Saharan Africa. This donation will allow the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) to expand its work meaningfully over the next four years in at least nine of the poorest countries on the continent.
Lilly's donation is the largest corporate insulin donation to the Life for a Child Program and one of Lilly's largest single contributions of free insulin in the 85 years since the company introduced the world's first mass-produced insulin in 1923.
Lilly made the announcement at this time to commemorate the theme of this year's World Diabetes Day (November 14) -- diabetes in children and adolescents.
"Diabetes is emerging as one of the most serious health problems of our time, and children with diabetes in the developing world are particularly vulnerable," said Dr. Carlos Paya, vice president, Lilly Research Laboratories and leader of Lilly's Global Diabetes and Endocrine Platform. "For nearly nine decades, Lilly has been at the forefront of providing solutions to combat the problems of diabetes around the world, and there is no more dire need right now than to ensure children with diabetes in the developing world - particularly sub-Saharan Africa - have access to the insulin they need to stay alive. We are committed to working with IDF to help these children survive."
The Life for a Child Program provides access to care, education and life-saving medicines and supplies to support children with diabetes in some of the poorest countries around the world. The program was established by IDF in partnership with Diabetes Australia-NSW and HOPE worldwide.
The program currently supports 1,100 children and works with diabetes centers in 18 countries to provide clinical care and diabetes education. It also aims to raise awareness of the plight of children with diabetes in these countries and encourages governments to establish appropriate care to safeguard the future of children with diabetes.
According to IDF, 70,000-75,000 children in low-income and lower-middle income countries are living with diabetes in desperate circumstances. These children need life-saving insulin to survive. Even more children are in need of the monitoring equipment, test strips and education required to manage their diabetes and avoid the life-threatening complications associated with the disease.
In many developing countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and some parts of Asia, life-saving diabetes medication and monitoring equipment is often unavailable or unaffordable. As a result, many children with diabetes die soon after diagnosis, or have poor control and quality of life, and develop the devastating complications of the disease early.
Few governments in sub-Saharan Africa are able to provide free insulin to children, according to IDF. Families often must purchase the insulin at premium prices that may equal more than half the family income.
"For any child with diabetes, having access to insulin, a life-saving and life-sustaining medication, should be a right not a privilege," said Dr. Martin Silink, President of the International Diabetes Federation. "The discovery of insulin 87 years ago was hailed as a miracle. Yet today many children with diabetes in the developing world still face death because they cannot access or afford this miracle drug. Solving the complex issues needed for a sustainable supply chain of insulin and other essential medicines and having them supported by expert diabetes care will not be easy, but we owe it to future generations to take this on. IDF has brought together a broad coalition of global diabetes stake holders to find the means to strengthen existing healthcare systems for diabetes, lobby for change, and provide the necessary medication and education to make a real difference. We are already moving forward. This donation from Lilly is an incredible first step that so many children with diabetes and their families in the developing world so desperately need."
Lilly is already a major supporter of the Life for a Child Program through contributions from a partnership between the Lilly Foundation and Rotary International, as well as individual employee contributions that have helped sustain care for more than 200 children over the last five years.
These new donations of insulin will begin to be distributed in 2009 in nine African countries: Mali, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Cameroon, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The number of children is expected to increase with time in each country as more are diagnosed and survive and more regional centers begin working with the program. The goal is that by 2012, these new insulin donations should be able to treat up to 24,000 children in the sub-Saharan region.
To further raise awareness of the devastating impact of diabetes and increase support for the program, Lilly and IDF also produced a documentary film, called Life for a Child, directed by Academy Award-nominee Edward Lachman. The film made its world debut in competition at the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival in New York in April 2008 and its European debut as an official selection of the Vienna International Film Festival in October. It will make its world television debut on the Sundance Channel in 2009.
For more information on the Life for a Child Program, please visit http://www.lifeforachild.org.
About Lilly Diabetes
For more than 85 years, Lilly has been a worldwide leader in pioneering industry-leading solutions to support people living with and treating diabetes. Lilly introduced the world's first commercial insulin in 1923, and remains at the forefront of medical and delivery device innovation to manage diabetes. Lilly is also committed to providing solutions beyond therapy -- practical tools, education and support programs to help overcome barriers to success along the diabetes journey. At Lilly, the journeys of each person living with or treating diabetes inspire ours. For more information, visit http://www.lillydiabetes.com.
About Eli Lilly and Company
Lilly, a leading innovation-driven corporation, is developing a growing portfolio of first-in-class and best-in-class pharmaceutical products by applying the latest research from its own worldwide laboratories and from collaborations with eminent scientific organizations. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind., Lilly provides answers -- through medicines and information -- for some of the world's most urgent medical needs. Information about Lilly is available at http://www.lilly.com.
|SOURCE Eli Lilly and Company|
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