INDIANAPOLIS, Oct. 5, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, a new shipment of commercial medicines, including more than 36,000 vials and pens of insulin, arrived in Puerto Rico. The delivery by Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY) includes 3,000 vials for humanitarian distribution and enough commercial insulin to help re-stock operational pharmacies. Lilly's humanitarian donation now includes 5,400 insulin pens and vials since Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico on September 20.
"The arrival of this additional insulin will help our efforts considerably," said Angel L. Comulada, M.D., president of the Puerto Rican Society of Diabetology and Endocrinology (SPED). "The recovery effort on the island has been difficult, and people with diabetes are particularly vulnerable without a dependable supply of insulin. This is an important step in our re-building efforts."
For people who can get to a pharmacy, the best way to access medicines is through normal channels. If their pharmacy is not open, insulin can be picked up at the following locations:
Bayamon Health Center, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., Monday through Friday
Centro de Diabetes para Puerto Rico, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays
Hospital Municipal de San Juan, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday
"We're committed to helping the people of Puerto Rico recover from the destruction of Hurricane Maria," said Enrique Conterno, president of Lilly Diabetes and Lilly USA. "Our humanitarian shipments are now being complemented with commercial insulin, allowing wholesalers to begin re-stocking products – which, in turn, will allow the people of Puerto Rico to find medicine more regularly at their pharmacies. And our humanitarian shipments will provide relief for many who may have no other options."
Lilly's first humanitarian shipment, 2,400 pens and vials of insulin, arrived in San Juan on September 24. Recipients of the insulin included the Municipality of San Juan, Centro Médico, San Jorge Children's Hospital, and Guaynabo, Hato Rey and Cayey Dialysis Centers. The additional 3,000 humanitarian vials will be distributed to centers established by SPED and to other locations by Direct Relief International, in close collaboration with local health experts and authorities.
Lilly knows the humanitarian needs around the island are significant and intends to make additional donations of insulin and other medicines in the weeks ahead as efforts to provide needed medical assistance continue.
"The devastation inflicted on Puerto Rico is beyond what many of us can imagine, and the health and safety of everyone is on all our minds," Conterno said. "This latest shipment of medicine is an important step, but much work remains. Lilly will continue to monitor developments on the island closely and work to ensure our medicines are available."
Tips for Storing Insulin and Other Helpful Info1
The FDA offers guidance on insulin storage in an emergency:
Insulin products that are in vials or cartridges can be left unrefrigerated for up to 28 days, even if it's already been opened.
Ideally, the temperature should still be between 59◦F and 86◦F, but in an emergency like this, insulin may still be used if the temperature is greater than 86◦F.
Insulin can lose some of its effectiveness when exposed to extreme temperatures. The longer the exposure, the less effective insulin becomes. People using insulin exposed to high temperatures should check their blood sugar as often as possible in case more insulin than usual is needed.
Insulin should be kept as cool as possible, but not frozen. People should not use insulin that has been frozen. Also keep insulin away from direct heat and out of direct sunlight.
For questions about insulin or if someone is in need of insulin, contact Lilly at (800) 545-5979. The FDA can also be reached for questions at (855) 543-3784.
If a patient is uncertain as to the effectiveness of his or her insulin based on difficulties with storage/exposure to extreme temperatures, and unexplained loss of glucose control is seen, it is advised that new insulin be obtained if possible.
If a patient's insulin has been damaged or destroyed by the storm, he or she can talk to their pharmacy about getting a new 30-day supply. Many insurance plans have "disaster overrides" that allow people to replace their destroyed medicine for the cost of a co-pay. If they don't have a disaster override, Lilly will replenish customers with a new 30-day supply at no charge. And if patients have a high-deductible plan that normally requires patients to pay the full price for their treatment, they will receive a 30-day supply at no charge if their medicine is destroyed. Further assistance is available via The Lilly Answers Center at (800) 545-5979.
About Eli Lilly and Company Lilly is a global healthcare leader that unites caring with discovery to make life better for people around the world. We were founded more than a century ago by a man committed to creating high-quality medicines that meet real needs, and today we remain true to that mission in all our work. Across the globe, Lilly employees work to discover and bring life-changing medicines to those who need them, improve the understanding and management of disease, and give back to communities through philanthropy and volunteerism. To learn more about Lilly, please visit us at www.lilly.com and www.lilly.com/newsroom/social-channels. C-LLY