Eli Lilly to publish grant and contribution information

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Eli Lilly and Company has announced that it will begin posting online all educational grant funding and other monetary contributions provided to U.S.-based organizations.

Lilly is the first pharmaceutical company to disclose its grants to U.S. organizations, which include medical societies, academic centers, patient groups and non-profit institutions.

"Lilly provides educational grants as a part of our mission to enhance patient care and improve the healthcare system," said Sidney Taurel, chairman and chief executive officer. "Lilly is proud of the support we provide these organizations in their efforts to inform and empower healthcare professionals and patients."

Grants are focused on therapeutic areas where Lilly has particular scientific and drug development expertise, including endocrinology, neuroscience and oncology. Taurel said that the company's online posting will allow the public to see how grants are being provided and used.

Lilly receives grant requests from medical associations and academic institutions to support continuing medical education and professional gatherings for the exchange of information on new advances in medical research and patient care. Additionally, Lilly provides support to non-profit groups engaged in improving patients' treatment and lives.

Lilly also receives grant requests from patient organizations that help people suffering with diseases, represent patient views, and advocate for change on matters of importance to patients and their caregivers. Some groups receiving funding also help to build communities of people who can share information and support those suffering from a disease. In these efforts, the company's goal is to better understand patients' needs and foster dialogue around important healthcare issues leading to improved access and better health outcomes.

Lilly evaluates and responds to funding requests in accordance with specific guidelines, which are also posted online. These guidelines seek to assure that there is no inappropriate influence by the company on the content or balance of educational programs, and that all grants are made in full compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Grants are reviewed for funding by members of Lilly's medical organization.

Information on funding provided to various groups by Lilly will be available on the company's grants office Website at www.lillygrantoffice.com on May 1, 2007. The Website will include a grant registry with the names of every organization in the U.S. receiving funding from Lilly in the first quarter of 2007, along with the amount and a description of the intended use of these funds. This information will be updated quarterly to reflect the latest funding and recipients.

The Website also will provide a link to information about funding by the Lilly Foundation. The Lilly Foundation is a non-profit corporation funded by Lilly, which provides grants to 501(c) (3) organizations.

Improving public access to grant funding information is part of Lilly's commitment to working in an ethical manner with third party organizations. In all endeavors, the company stresses a mutual respect for the funded organizations' opinions, independence and credibility.

"We are grateful for the funding that Lilly and other corporations provide to support our important mission," said Kim Thiboldeaux, president and CEO of The Wellness Community. "Grants from Lilly and others are unrestricted, educational or charitable and are not linked to any brand endorsement or other obligation, consistent with our corporate policy. We believe that transparency in corporate giving is a responsible step, and we applaud Lilly for this action."

"Organizations and individuals outside of the pharmaceutical industry in the U.S. have called for increased openness about industry grants," said Taurel. "By sharing this information on our grant funding, we are addressing head-on questions regarding the nature of the relationships between our company and the organizations we support."

A report issued last week by the U.S. Senate Finance Committee observed that "pharmaceutical manufacturers appear to have moved grant policies to the front-burner and crafted corporate policies that, if fully implemented, would ensure that the companies' actions comply with all applicable laws." Lilly's online posting of its educational grants strengthens the standards the company had established to assure ethical grant making. The registry will increase accountability and hopefully lead to greater public trust.

Taurel said Lilly's grant disclosure initiative is part of the company's ongoing effort to provide meaningful answers for its patients, the medical community and society. In January 2004, Lilly was one of the first in the pharmaceutical industry to adopt a centralized grant office to ensure compliance with government guidelines issued the previous year. And in December of that year, Lilly launched the industry's first voluntary registry of clinical trial data, found at www.lillytrials.com.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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