Equitable Access to Medicines in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Tiffany Benjamin  | January 28, 2021

I think the world exhaled a collective sigh of relief when 2020 finally reached its end. And while daunting challenges remain, hope is on the horizon.

Hope comes in the form of new medicines to prevent and treat the symptoms of COVID-19. Making these innovations available – especially for people living in low- and middle-income countries – comes with its own challenges. But we’re not deterred. It’s why we joined the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other collaborators to accelerate COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics and treatments – and to ensure equitable access to them. And it’s why we established principles to guide access and affordability for our therapeutic antibodies.

These commitments are part of Lilly’s ongoing social impact efforts.

As part of our social impact work, we’ve set a goal to improve access to quality health care for 30 million people each year by 2030. That’s 30 million people beyond those we already reach through our core business. These are people living in settings with limited resources who often lack access to the information, tools, providers and medicines they need.

These efforts include a number of global health partnerships, including our long-standing collaboration with Life for a Child. We’re excited to expand this partnership so that, together, we can make insulin and other needed supplies available to even more children and young adults with diabetes who live in under-resourced countries.

Our social impact work also encompasses our efforts to find new medicines – and new uses for existing ones – to treat diseases that hit vulnerable people especially hard, including bacterial infections. In the absence of new and better antibiotics, experts warn that antimicrobial resistance, or AMR, will lead to a global health crisis that eclipses the current pandemic.

Last year, Lilly joined others to launch the AMR Action Fund to address the global public health need for new antibiotics. This groundbreaking partnership aims to bring at least two novel antibiotics to market this decade.

In many ways, COVID-19 has shone a bright light on access inequities across the globe. Too many people, especially the most vulnerable, still lack access to the medicines and care they need. Lilly will continue to invest in innovation that solves the world’s most significant health challenges.

But we know that’s only the start of the conversation.

There is much work yet to be done to improve access to care and medicines. Collectively, I believe we can use the lessons of the past year to inform the path forward. As we do, we’ll emerge a stronger, more prepared, more equitable world because of it.