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Lilly donates COVID therapy to India

FILE - This April 26, 2017 file photo shows the Eli Lilly & Co. corporate headquarters in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)

INDIANAPOLIS (Inside INdiana Business) — Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE: LLY) is stepping up efforts to help India as the nation deals with a worsening COVID-19 pandemic. Lilly says it is donating 400,000 doses of baricitinib to the Indian government for COVID-19 patients who are hospitalized.

The World Health Organization reported Tuesday that India recorded nearly 360,000 new cases of the disease over the past 24 hours.

Lilly says its therapy will be paired with remdesivir, which is produced by California-based Gilead Sciences Inc. (Nasdaq: GILD).

On Monday, India’s drug regulatory agency gave emergency use approval to Lilly’s treatment for its use in hospitalized COVID-19 patients requiring supplemental oxygen or for those on ventilators.

“With the COVID-19 crisis devastating India, hospitals are overwhelmed by the number of cases and patients need access to potentially life-saving treatments such as baricitinib,” said David Ricks, Lilly chairman and chief executive officer. “We hope that our donations as well as collaborations with other organizations speed access to baricitinib and provide treatment options for these patients.”

The drugmaker said it will work urgently to increase the supply, which comes in tablet form, “multifold’ over the coming weeks.

In addition to the initial donation, Lilly says it is working with local Indian pharmaceutical companies to execute royalty-free voluntary licensing agreements to accelerate the manufacturing and distribution of the medicine in India during the pandemic.

Last fall, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted Emergency Use Authorization of baricitinib in conjunction with remdesivir.

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