Eli Lilly shifts Russia business, halts shipments of nonessential medicine

Anke Neustadt

Eli Lilly and Company has shifted its business operations in Russia, including suspending shipments of nonessential medicines, after the country invaded Ukraine. 

The pharmaceutical giant announced Tuesday that it’s pausing “all investments, promotional activities, and new clinical trials in Russia, as well as the exportation of non-essential medicines.”  


Its operations in Russia will only focus on “ensuring people suffering from diseases like cancer and diabetes continue to get the Lilly medicines they need,” according to the company. 

Eli Lilly and Company Research Laboratories. Lilly makes Medicines and Pharmaceuticals. (iStock / iStock)

“We have an ethical and moral obligation to help alleviate human suffering and to protect the lives of patients,” Lilly said in a statement. 

However, Lilly is also shifting its efforts to focus on Ukraine, saying the company “recognizes the challenges people are facing with access to essential medications like insulin.” 

Any profits that are generated from sales in Russia will be donated to organizations dedicated to humanitarian relief in Ukraine, according to the company. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
LLY ELI LILLY & CO. 285.51 +9.07 +3.28%
PFE PFIZER INC. 54.24 +1.32 +2.49%


Earlier this month, the company announced that it donated millions of dollars in essential medicines like Insulin and baricitinib, used to treat complications of COVID-19, to organizations dedicated to assisting Ukrainians in need. 

Meanwhile, Pfizer announced Monday that it will keep supplying medicine to Russia despite its opposition to the country’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Pfizer logo seen on the facade of an office building in Shinjuku area of Tokyo. (Cezary Kowalski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images) / Getty Images)

The U.S.-based pharmaceutical giant said that implementing a “voluntary pause in the flow of our medicines to Russia would be in direct violation of our foundational principle of putting patients first.”  

Halting the delivery of critical medicines, such as cancer or cardiovascular therapies, would result in “significant patient suffering and potential loss of life, particularly among children and elderly people,” the company continued.  

However, its business in Russia will change in order to show its support for Ukraine. 


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