Eli Lilly strikes 2nd deal to boost affordable insulin access, this time in Bangladesh

After striking a pact on affordable insulin in Africa late last year, Eli Lilly is now looking to boost access to the essential medicine in Bangladesh.

Lilly has inked a deal with Bangladesh’s International Agencies (IABL) to supply active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) for its human insulin at an undisclosed "reduced price," the Indianapolis-based drugmaker said Monday. The move is part of a bid to increase access and improve insulin affordability for nearly 1 million people with diabetes in Bangladesh by 2030.

Under the accord, IABL will be tasked with formulation and fill-finish of human insulin vials and cartridges, which will roll out under the company’s own trademark and brand by 2025. The product will be exclusively available in Bangladesh, Lilly pointed out in a press release.

The deal marks Lilly’s second recent collaboration under the company’s 30x30 initiative, which seeks to improve healthcare access for 30 million people in limited-resource settings, annually, by 2030.

In December, Lilly linked up with Eva Pharma of Egypt under a similar API licensing deal to bring more affordable insulin to 56 middle- and low-income countries—most of them in Africa—within the next 18 months.

Eva previously partnered with Gilead Sciences to supply its COVID-19 antiviral remdesivir at a greatly reduced cost.

Over in Bangladesh, around 13.1 million people live with diabetes, according to the International Diabetes Federation’s Diabetes Atlas (PDF). That figure is expected to jump to about 22.3 million by 2045.

Elsewhere in its 30x30 initiative, Lilly is helping Bangladesh through nonprofit collaborations boost outcomes for kids and teens suffering from chronic, non-communicable diseases. The company is also angling to provide better diabetes care and treatment for children with Type 1 diabetes.

Though much of the hype today surrounds Eli Lilly’s newer treatments like Trulicity and Mounjaro, insulin forms a key part of the greater diabetes armamentarium.

Still, as is the case with many diabetes-focused companies, Lilly’s insulin revenues have been slipping in recent years. For all of 2022, Lilly’s insulin products Humalog, Humulin and Basaglar posted sales declines of 16%, 17% and 15%, respectively.