Lilly Supports Direct Relief's Efforts to Expand Access to Medicines by Improving Cold Chain Capacity
$1.15M contribution from Lilly will fund the purchase and installation of 150 refrigeration units by Direct Relief in low- and middle-income countries around the world
INDIANAPOLIS and SANTA BARBARA, Calif., Jan. 26, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY) and Direct Relief today announced a new initiative to expand access to medicines in low- and middle-income countries by boosting cold chain capacity in 17 countries. Supported by $1.15M in funding from Lilly, Direct Relief will purchase and install an estimated 150 medical-grade refrigeration units at 25 Life for a Child partner facilities in Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and Southeast Asia.
Cold chain – the transportation and storage of temperature-controlled medications – is a vital component of medical logistics, especially as the global pharmaceutical industry shifts towards the production of biologics and other temperature-sensitive molecules. The World Health Organization's Global Diabetes Compact calls on the private sector to do more to support capacity building in supply chain management, including cold storage.
"We appreciate Direct Relief's extensive expertise in logistics and end-to-end supply chain management and know this effort will make a substantial difference in providing patients around the world with medicines they need to address serious health issues like diabetes," said Leigh Ann Pusey, executive vice president, corporate affairs and communications for Lilly. "Efforts to expand access to medicines, especially insulin, are only beneficial when effective cold chain systems are in place to keep them at the right temperature on their way to patients."
The manufacturing of insulin requires consistent refrigeration at between two and eight degrees Celsius. Lilly's support of Direct Relief's cold chain initiative is part of Lilly 30x30, an effort which aims to improve access and address barriers to quality healthcare for 30 million people living in limited-resource settings annually, by 2030. The initiative builds on decades of Lilly's global health work to improve equitable access to diabetes care and medicines. In 2022, Lilly and its affiliates provided insulin and reusable pens to Direct Relief related to support of the Life for a Child program, impacting more than 30 countries worldwide.
"We are grateful to Lilly for their support of this crucial initiative. Their dedication to global health and access to essential medical products is making a real difference in the lives of those in need," said Direct Relief President and CEO Thomas Tighe. "The lack of cold chain distribution capacity in much of the world already prevents many people from accessing the medications and therapies they need, even when they are free. If this issue is not addressed, the divide between those who have access to essential medical products and those who don't will only widen."
In its 2022 fiscal year, Direct Relief delivered more than 47 million defined daily doses, the average dose per day, of temperature-controlled medications valued at $656 million (wholesale acquisition cost), a 600% increase from five years earlier in 2018. The organization operates 8,300 square feet of refrigerated warehouse space capable of storing up to 677 pallets of temperature-sensitive medicine.
By ensuring that resource-constrained regions of the world have medical refrigeration capacity at the last mile of delivery, more people will have access to the medications they need to live healthy lives.
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