Bloomberg reports that Eli Lilly & Co., which has spent $135 million since 2003 training seven generic drugmakers to make treatments against drug-resistant tuberculosis, plans to spend $30 million over the next five years helping patients to get access to the pills.
Lilly plans to work on improving availability of treatment for people in China, India, Russia and South Africa, and to train health-care workers from 2012 until 2016.
There were about 9.4 million cases of tuberculosis globally in 2009, according to the World Health Organization. Of those, almost 4 percent were a form of the disease that isn’t cleared by the two frontline drugs used against it, requiring treatment with costlier medicines. Lilly’s funds will help make second-line medicines available to those who need it, Chief Executive Officer John Lechleiter said. He traveled to western China in March to observe the Lilly Foundation’s work.
“The impression that that left me with is the scarcity of resources available to health-care providers,” Lechleiter said. “By that I mean simple things like posters and brochures that would make people aware of the disease, how to prevent it, how to seek treatment.”
That’s a consistent message. On September 16th, at the Washington Post’s “Sharing the Responsibility” event on non-communicable diseases, Lechleiter commented, “There is no substitute for the power of partnership.”