By Dr. Timothy J. Garnett
REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION
*This article first appeared in the National Black Nurses Association newsletter
At Eli Lilly and Company, our purpose—to make life better—has never been more important. We’re bringing the full force of our scientific and medical expertise to attack coronavirus around the world.
Lilly is fighting the pandemic with everything we can: discovering potential medicines to treat and prevent COVID-19, maintaining a reliable supply of our medicines, and supporting patients and communities in times of need.
Quest for treatments
The world urgently needs medicines that can help reduce the impact of COVID-19 while the global scientific community works toward an eventual vaccine. This is particularly imperative for communities of color, which have been disproportionally impacted by the virus, further exacerbating underlying health disparities.
In early June, Lilly advanced the fight into a new era with the start of human studies of the world’s first custom-designed potential treatments for COVID-19—antibodies engineered for their potential to neutralize, and possibly prevent, the disease.
Lilly scientists rapidly developed the first antibody in just three months, after our partner AbCellera and the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) identified it from a blood sample taken from one of the first U.S. patients who recovered from COVID-19.
If successful in clinical studies, Lilly is committed to working with regulatory authorities to accelerate the availability of this potential medicine. Lilly believes that antibodies—in addition to vaccines, antivirals and immunosuppressants—will be important additions to the toolkit in combating COVID-19.
Lilly is studying multiple approaches to attack and prevent the virus. In addition to antibodies, the company is working with NIAID to study a medicine approved to treat rheumatoid arthritis for its potential anti-inflammatory effect in treating COVID-19. Lilly is also studying another investigational medicine, originally developed for cancer, to see if it can help slow the progression of acute respiratory distress syndrome in COVID-19 patients with pneumonia.
Supporting patients and communities
Lilly is committed to supporting people who need our medicines and the communities where we work and live, especially in this time of need.
We’ve been providing affordability solutions for a long time, but more is needed to help people during this unprecedented period. We want people who need help to contact us.
With stress on our economy, we know many people in the U.S. may struggle to pay for their medicines. So we’ve enhanced our affordability solutions—including launching the Lilly Insulin Value Program, which allows people with diabetes to get their Lilly insulin prescription filled for as little as $35 a month. People can call the Lilly Diabetes Solution Center at 1-833-808-1234, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. (Eastern time), or find more information about the Lilly Diabetes Solution Center here.
We’re also participating in the Medicare Part D Senior Savings Model. Once this program begins next year, people using most Lilly insulins—regardless of whether they are enrolled in Medicare Part D, a private commercial plan, or are uninsured—will also be eligible to purchase their monthly prescription for as little as $35 a month from a retail pharmacy.
More than 40 million people around the world rely on Lilly medicines every day, many with chronic diseases like diabetes that put them at greater risk of complications from the virus. Our job is to maintain a safe supply of medicines that help keep them well. It’s important to note that Lilly does not currently anticipate shortages for any of our medicines, including all forms of insulin.
Lilly is also committed to doing our part to help slow the spread of the virus. We will be cautious as communities re-open, balancing the need to support health care professional offices and patients with safety concerns.
Lilly and the Lilly Foundation are actively engaged with community partners to address new and complex challenges arising from the coronavirus, including the economic impact on people most vulnerable to the downturn. In our hometown of Indianapolis, we helped launch a community fund to assist in stabilizing organizations that serve individuals and families affected by the pandemic—as well as a fund to support educators and families during the transition to remote learning.
At Lilly, we unite caring and discovery to make life better for people around the world. We will continue to seek treatments to beat COVID-19 and work with partners to help our communities weather this storm.