INDIANAPOLIS—Eli Lilly and Company is launching a five-year,$30 million commitment to battle non-communicable diseases (NCD) in developingnations through the soon-to-be-developed The Lilly NCD Partnership, which willcombine Lilly's resources with the experience of leading global healthorganizations to explore new options for patient care that will increase theaccess and outcomes of treatment for underserved citizens. Non-communicablediseases include diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular diseases and chronicrespiratory diseases. The initial focus will be on diabetes, one of Lilly'sareas of expertise, and will target communities in Brazil, South Africa, Indiaand Mexico.
"Non-communicable diseases are afflicting nations,communities and families around the world, with the most vulnerable bearingmost of the burden," John C. Lechleiter, Ph.D., chairman, president and chiefexecutive officer of Lilly, said in a press release. "We believe we have aresponsibility and are uniquely positioned to assist in the global fightagainst these diseases. In partnership with leading health organizations, Lillywill contribute its deep expertise and the company's broad researchcapabilities to help find solutions for these pressing societal needs."
Lilly will have a range of partners in this effort, and willdevelop country-specific programs with each of them that will launch early nextyear as well as country-specific milestones that will trigger additionalinvestments if achieved. Lilly will be partnering with Hospital IsraelitaAlbert Einstein Diagnostic & Preventive Medicine and Research Institute inBrazil; The Public Health Foundation of India, Project HOPE and PopulationServices International in India; The Carlos Slim Health Institute Casalud inMexico; and The Donald Woods Foundation and Project HOPE in South Africa.
The program will focus on identifying comprehensive,sustainable models of patient care based on local needs, whether that might bepatient education or increased access to treatment for providers. It willfollow the concept of "shared value."
"The business community can and must play a vital role inaddressing complex societal problems. And it's clear that writing a check ordonating product alone doesn't have a lasting impact," said Lechleiter. "Agrowing body of evidence demonstrates that when a company engages with partnersin an area in which it has deep expertise and a vested interest, societybenefits and the company enhances its own performance."
Non-communicable diseases, or chronic disease, tend toaffect poorer countries disproportionately, as 80 percent of all deaths fromnon-communicable diseases occur in low- and middle-income countries. Accordingto the World Health Organization, 36 million people died from non-communicablediseases in 2008, which accounted for 63 percent of all deaths around theworld.
K Srinath Reddy, M.D., president of the Public Health Foundation ofIndia, noted in a press release that prevention is just as important as earlydetection and effective treatment. It is also important, Reddy said, that"health systems in developing countries are strengthened, so that they caneffectively respond to this challenge." A comprehensive approach like that ofLilly's program, in which education is focused on as well as treatment, canhelp these countries to target the cause rather than try to just deal with theeffects.
"NCDs in developing countries haven't garnered the sameattention that TB, HIV/AIDS and malaria have. There are few successful modelsof treatment for NCDs and limited international funding," said Jacques Tapiero,president of Lilly's emerging market business group, in a press release."Meanwhile, governments in developing countries are recognizing the need tofocus resources on NCD treatment and prevention. The Lilly NCD Partnership willwork closely with governments to identify, evaluate and prioritize healthcaresolutions that meaningfully reduce the burden of chronic diseases in costeffective ways."