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National News

Lilly to Transfer TB-Drug Rights to Poor Nations

June 5, 2003

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!

Today, Eli Lilly plans to announce it is joining with the World Health Organization, CDC, and Harvard and Purdue universities in a four-year, $70 million technology transfer program to help companies in China, India, South Africa and possibly Russia make and sell their own supply of two older Lilly antibiotics. The drugs, capreomycin and cycloserine, have been supplanted by newer, less toxic drugs, and no longer have much of a market in the United States or Europe. But they are among the few treatments effective against tuberculosis that is resistant to standard TB drugs.

Lilly already had cut the prices of the two drugs by about 95 percent. Its new effort to transfer the rights to make them, in return for a pledge that the drugs will be sold cheaply, is also aimed at boosting the supply of the antibiotics. The plan was prompted by two globetrotting TB doctors. "I'm not embarrassed to beg for our patients... I was a pest," said Harvard Medical School Professor Paul Farmer. With colleague Jim Y. Kim, he lobbied for four years to secure Lilly's largesse.

Under Lilly's TB partnership, to be announced with global and US health officials in Geneva and Washington, the company will give away its manufacturing technology to several foreign companies in exchange for their pledge to charge reasonable prices. Lilly also will sponsor programs at Harvard to teach health care workers to better detect and treat multidrug- resistant TB, and at Purdue to train the overseas companies to make drugs under strict manufacturing practices required by the US Food and Drug Administration. To track the spread of resistant TB, Lilly will set up a surveillance outpost in Tomsk, Russia, where 40 percent of cases involve resistant bacteria. Lilly's collaborators also include the Department of Health and Human Services and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Lilly expects no profit from the partnership. "There is absolutely no money to be made on this," said Chair and CEO Sidney Taurel. A Lilly spokesperson said the company will be able to claim a small tax benefit from the transfer.

Back to other CDC news for June 5, 2003

Previous Updates

Adapted from:
Wall Street Journal
06.05.03; Marilyn Chase

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!



  
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
 
See Also
Tuberculosis (TB) Fact Sheet
Questions and Answers About Tuberculosis
More on Treating Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS

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