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Lilly and EVA Pharma join hands to drive affordable insulin access in Africa

At least one million people living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes in Africa will now have access to high quality, affordable human and analogue insulin thanks to the recent collaboration announced between Eli Lilly and Company, and EVA Pharma
Source: Pexels

In a first for Lilly, the company will supply its active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) for insulin at a significantly reduced price to EVA Pharma.

Lilly will also provide a pro-bono technology transfer to enable EVA Pharma to formulate, fill and finish insulin vials and cartridges – establishing the company as a trusted manufacturer of these lifesaving products in Africa.

EVA Pharma expects to begin distribution of the African-made insulin products within 18 months and to reach one million people n low- to middle-income countries (LMICs) per year by 2030. This collaboration is part of the Lilly 30x30 initiative which aims to improve access to quality healthcare for 30 million people living in limited-resource settings, annually, by 2030.

“Our new collaboration with EVA Pharma reflects Lilly’s deep commitment to making equitable and affordable access to insulin a reality for people living with diabetes in low- and middle-income countries,” said Ilya Yuffa, president of Lilly International.

“This latest initiative from Lilly will empower local manufacturing, finishing and distribution of quality insulin – in Africa – which will transform communities and make life better for people throughout the continent.”

“EVA Pharma is committed to empowering the fight for health and wellbeing as a human right,” said Riad Armanious, chief executive officer of EVA Pharma.

Countering the challenges of living with diabetes

“People suffering from diabetes in LMICs experience daily challenges in accessing treatment. We feel blessed to collaborate with the team at Lilly.

"Combining our African reach, state-of-the-art facilities, and Lilly’s deep expertise in diabetes care, we aim to treat at least one million patients by 2030 who otherwise may not have access to life-saving medication.”

According to the IDF Diabetes Atlas, the total number of people with diabetes in Africa is expected to increase 129% by 2045, reaching 55 million people.

The World Health Organization (WHO) established the Global Diabetes Compact in 2021, a global initiative to support countries in implementing effective programmes for the prevention and management of diabetes, one tenet of which includes engaging with the private sector to expand access to products that will improve the lives of people living with diabetes.

Prioritising improved access to insulin

The dialogues with WHO encourage implementation of and accountability for the commitments and contributions toward improving access to insulin.

“The success of these commitments to increase access for people living with diabetes is an important step in the right direction, but global engagement will need to be translated into implementation in regions and countries,” said WHO director for noncommunicable disease, Bente Mikkelsen.

“This is the starting point. The hope is to have insulin and diabetes devices as part of essential benefit packages in low- and middle-income countries [as we aim] towards achieving universal health coverage.”

Lilly will work with EVA Pharma to ensure that their products meet the high quality standards set for WHO pre-qualification, which has become a global symbol for safety, quality and efficacy.

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