Since the invasion of Ukraine, hundreds of companies have announced a pause or withdrawal of businesses in Russia. Drugmakers Eli Lilly, Novartis and AbbVie are among the latest to join the growing list.
Eli Lilly has suspended the exportation of “non-essential medicines” to Russia, leaving its local operations in the country now focused solely on cancer and diabetes, the Indianapolis pharma said in a statement Tuesday.
Lilly will also donate any profits from Russia to organizations dedicated to humanitarian relief, the company said, joining Pfizer in that initiative. It has also cut all investments, promotional activities and new clinical trials in Russia.
Lilly has been present in Russia since 1989. Aside from cancer and diabetes treatments, the company sells drugs in other disease areas such as osteoporosis and mental disorders, according to the company’s Russian website.
Unlike other business sectors, suspending all operations or pulling out of Russia completely isn’t a viable option for pharmaceutical companies from a humanitarian standpoint.
The company is “deeply concerned about the Russian invasion of Ukraine” and says it’s in regular contact with its employees in the country.
“We have suspended further marketing and clinical investments in Russia and are focusing our efforts to help our local employees and to ensure more than 650,000 patients can continue their treatment with our essential medication,” a Novo Nordisk spokesperson said over email. “The factory in Russia is still operating to supply medication to patients in Russia,” he added.
The company has paused starting new clinical trials and halted active enrollment of new patients in Russia, where there are currently more than 3,000 patients enrolled in studies, Novo said.
Novo’s done the same in Ukraine, where there are currently 900 patients enrolled in trials.