Eli Lilly and Company is a major insulin manufacturer, located in Indianapolis, Indiana in the United States.
The company was founded in 1876 by a pharmaceutical chemist, Colonel Eli Lilly, as a tiny laboratory in Indianapolis. In 1919, his heir Joseph Lilly hired biochemist George Henry Alexander Clowes as director of biochemical research. Clowes' negotiations with researchers who developed insulin at the University of Toronto helped launched the first successful large-scale production of insulin in 1923. The success of insulin enabled the company to attract well-respected scientists and, with them, make more medical advances.
Eli Lilly also distributes:
- pioglitazone/Actos (for Type 2 diabetes)
- exenatide/Byetta (for Type 2 diabetes)
- duloxetine/Cymbalta (for diabetic neuropathic pain)
- Insulin analog/Humalog (for diabetes)
In 2000-2001, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) did not disclose an unusual gift from Lilly: a lent executive, Emerson "Randy" Hall Jr., who moved into ADA's Alexandria, Virginia headquarters and coached the organization on growth strategies, all paid by Lilly. A Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native now retired and living in Princeton, New Jersey, Hall said he never tried to influence the group and merely helped it market itself, including writing its slogan: "Cure. Care. Commitment." Hall estimated that his work, including diabetes patient research he subsequently shared with Lilly, would have cost "hundreds of thousands" from a contractor. Asked why it did not cite Hall on its tax returns or annual report, ADA spokeswoman Diane Tuncer said: "There is not a requirement to do so."
According to a New York Times article published on December 17, 2006, Eli Lilly has engaged in a decade-long effort to play down the health risks of Zyprexa, its best-selling medication for schizophrenia, according to hundreds of internal Lilly documents and e-mail messages among top company managers. These health risks include an increased risk for diabetes through Zyprexa's links to obesity and its tendency to raise blood sugar. Zyprexa is Lilly’s top-selling drug, with sales of $4.2 billion last year.
Thimerosal is a preservative that contains mercury and is used by Eli Lilly and others in vaccines. In 1999 the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Public Health Service urged vaccine makers to stop using mercury-based preservatives. In 2001 the Institute of Medicine concluded that the link between autism and thimerosal was “biologically plausible.” By 2002, thimerosal lawsuits against Eli Lilly were progressing through the courts.
Political analysts and the parents of autistic children were baffled when it was revealed, shortly after the passage of the Homeland Security Act in 2002, that a rider to the bill had been added just prior to passage, that would shield Eli Lilly and the pharmaceutical industry from billions of dollars in anticipated lawsuits over vaccines. Known as the "Eli Lilly Protection Act", the provision was designed to force lawsuits over the preservative thiomersal, calling the suits into a special 'vaccine court'. The provision could have resulted in the dismissal of thousands of cases filed by parents, who contend mercury in thimerosal poisoned their children, causing autism and other neurological ailments, but the rider was subsequently repealed when the next session of Congress convened in 2003.