India, often known as the diabetes capital of the world, is home to over 74 million diabetes patients and statistics reveal that these cases are expected to rise to 124.8 million by 2045. The burden of diabetes is high and it is increasing worldwide. According to doctors and health experts, 57% of these people are still undiagnosed. Type 2 diabetes, which accounts for the majority of cases, can lead to multiorgan complications, generally divided into microvascular and macrovascular complications. Although it is known that good control of blood sugar, blood pressure and blood lipid levels can prevent or delay the onset of diabetes complications, the management and prevention of the disease in India is a challenge. of size. A similar trend can be seen in cancer management in the country. Studies show that the burden of cancer varies across regions in India, which poses great challenges in its prevention and control. Financial Express.com reached out to Vineet Gupta, Managing Director, Eli Lilly India and Subcontinent and he spoke about Eli Lilly’s plan for diabetes and cancer care in India, its plans and partnerships, among others. Excerpts:
In India, the dangers and impact of non-communicable diseases like diabetes are increasing. India is considered the diabetes capital of the world. What are Eli Lilly’s plans in this segment?
Lilly has a long and distinguished history of innovation in diabetes care. The company has been a global leader in diabetes care since 1923, when we marketed the world’s first insulin. Also in India, our diabetes portfolio includes a wide range of innovative products, and we are committed to continue bringing our new innovations in the future. Lilly expands access to our therapies by building strategic partnerships with leading Indian companies that help us achieve our goal of improving the lives of people around the world.
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You were appointed Managing Director of Lilly India in January 2022. What are your plans and goals and how can you contribute to India’s healthcare system?
Eli Lilly has been serving patients in India for over 27 years. Over these years, we have worked to ensure that the country benefits from the strong portfolio of life-changing medicines and advanced therapies that Lilly is bringing to the world. We are committed to our goal of improving lives and we will continue to ensure that more patients in India can benefit from the discovery and delivery of our innovative medicines. To achieve this, we continue to focus on expanding access to our existing specialty products as well as developing collaborations with India’s leading pharmaceutical companies in certain therapeutic areas to ensure that our medicines reach the patients who need them. need. We also intend to strengthen our relationships with healthcare providers and the medical community by sharing the latest scientific data on new drugs/indications covering our therapeutic areas. Additionally, we will continue to leverage various social impact programs to help improve health and support communities.
What are the crucial products you are working on at the moment? How many of them will be launched this year?
For more than 145 years, we have worked tirelessly to develop and deliver reliable medicines that meet real needs. Globally, we focus on therapeutic areas where there is an urgent need for innovative science-based solutions such as diabetes, oncology, pain, immunology and neurodegeneration. Specifically in India, we plan to launch our innovations in diabetes, dermatology and oncology early next year.
In the segment of cancer diagnosis, care and treatment, where is India at the moment? What immediate measures do you need to be introduced to improve them, in your opinion?
The latest data indicates that there are one million new cases of cancer diagnosed every year in India, and this figure is expected to increase 5 times by 2025. When diagnosed or detected at an early stage, the Cancer treatment prognosis may be more positive because the cancer may be less aggressive. It also means it is less expensive to process. The challenge here is to ensure widespread awareness of the importance of early detection and to expand access to treatment. Beyond that, people need quick and cost-effective access to good health infrastructure. Finally, they must have access to new, innovative drugs that improve prognosis and prolong life. Raising awareness and expanding access to treatment requires collaboration between multiple public and private actors.
Recently, Eli Lilly announced its partnership with a Chinese company, Triastek, to develop 3D-printed drugs that can more efficiently deliver drugs into a person’s body. What are the benefits of such drugs? Can we expect this in India in the years to come?
We continuously explore opportunities for collaboration that allow us to further deliver on our promise and improve outcomes for the patients who rely on us. We regularly disclose the results of collaborations and studies or research results as they become available.
What are the main challenges pharmaceutical companies like Eli Lilly face in India? How do you approach them?
Our responsibility to society begins with manufacturing reliable, quality medicines that help people live longer, healthier and more active lives. We are proactively making persistent efforts to obtain regulatory approvals to expedite the process of bringing to market our innovative products that will address the unmet needs of Indian patients. In India, health expenditure weighs on household disposable income, as the majority of expenses are borne by patients. Increasing public spending on health can play an important role in reducing this burden. Lilly’s strategic partnerships in India are essential to our local and global efforts to make innovative medicines accessible to more people.
As a global pharmaceutical company, what is Eli Lilly’s current position in India and what are your plans for the country in the coming years?
Our goal has always been to unite caring with discovery to create medicines that improve the lives of people around the world. India is an important country for Lilly and we remain committed to bringing innovation and collaborating with healthcare providers and industry stakeholders, thereby strengthening healthcare systems and improving care. Through strategic partnerships, we will also ensure expanded access to our medicines. We want to collaborate with public and private sector actors to address unmet needs and develop the local healthcare landscape.
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