SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO, October 27, 2017 — Direct Relief today airlifted 152,604 lbs. of urgently needed medical resources to Puerto Rico, where medical shortages persist more than a month after Hurricane Maria devastated the island.
The Direct Relief-chartered MD-11 cargo jet contained $21 million (wholesale) in donated medical resources from 44 companies (full list of companies below), including extensive quantities of intravenous solutions and prescription medications for acute conditions and chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension that can rapidly become medical emergencies if not managed.
“This airlift will go a long way towards helping our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico, and I am eternally grateful to Direct Relief and all of the organizations involved,” said President Bill Clinton, 42nd President of the United States, and founder and board chair of the Clinton Foundation. “Their efforts are a reminder that when so many people need our help, our common humanity matters even more.”
The Clinton Foundation has supported Direct Relief’s work for years, including the recovery efforts after the 2010 Haiti earthquake and the response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014. In the response to the Caribbean hurricanes this year, the Clinton Foundation has helped to coordinate and advise the team at Direct Relief.
Businesses Step Up to Fill Resource Gap
Direct Relief works with dozens of healthcare companies’ philanthropic arms on an ongoing basis to address public health needs and humanitarian crises across the globe and in all 50 U.S. states. This private philanthropic support from businesses, as well as philanthropic support from individuals, foundations, and organizations has enabled a massively stepped-up response to assist in Puerto Rico, where health services have been severely constricted by the extensive damage caused by Hurricane Maria.
44 companies joined in filling specific requests that Direct Relief received from nonprofit health centers, government facilities, and private hospitals in Puerto Rico – all of which have been struggling to restore and expand services to care for the island’s more than 3 million residents.
“Direct Relief has been a wonderful partner for Eli Lilly and Company,” said Rob Smith, senior director of corporate responsibility and president of the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation. “We have worked together to get insulin to those impacted by the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria. Lilly could not ask for a more capable, responsive, and compassionate partner. We are so grateful for all of the things Direct Relief is doing to help the great people of Puerto Rico recover from this terrible disaster.”
The medicines and supplies on the flight were donated by the following companies:
3M; Abbott; AbbVie; Alcon; Allergan plc; Amneal Pharmaceuticals; Apotex Inc.; AstraZeneca; Baxter International Inc.; Bayer; BD; Boehringer Ingelheim Cares Foundation; Cares Foundation; Bristol-Myers Squibb; Cera Products, Inc.; Cipla; Coola Suncare; CVS; DayOne Response; Ethicon; GSK; Henry Schein, Inc.; Integra LifeSciences; InTouch Health; Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson; Kaléo; LifeScan; Magno-Humphries Labs; Medtronic; Merck & Co., Inc.; Mylan; Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation; Noble Laboratories, Inc.; Novartis; Pfizer Inc.; Prestige Brands; Sagent Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Sanofi Foundation for NA; Sappo Hill Soapworks; Starbucks; Teva Pharmaceuticals, USA; Trividia Health; Vaseline; Wisconsin Pharmacal Company.
Responding to an Unprecedented Hurricane Season
Today’s airlift follows several weeks of smaller-scale airlifts and hand-carried medications and emergency medical resources to dozens of Puerto Rico’s nonprofit health centers and medical teams organized by the Puerto Rico Department of Health.
Among the critical items has been 565 vials of blood-clotting factor for children with hemophilia, 15,600 vials of insulin, 35 pre-kitted emergency medical packs containing a broad range of Rx medications and supplies, as well as 1500 solar lights and over 4000 bottles of insect repellant to protect against Zika virus.
Since Hurricane Harvey’s landfall on August 25, Direct Relief has sent 148 tons of medications, vaccines, and medical supplies valued at $64.7 million (wholesale) and including 19 million defined daily doses of Rx medications delivered via 560 emergency shipments to 143 partner organizations in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, USVI and seven Caribbean countries.
In addition, Direct Relief has provided and committed financial support in the form of grants totaling over $2.7 million to 43 nonprofit health centers and clinics and their primary care associations in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico.