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Direct Relief Airlifts 79,365 lbs of Emergency Medical Aid to Puerto Rico


Hurricane Maria

79,365 lbs of medications, nutritionals and medical supplies from Direct Relief arrive at the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan. (Photo: Lara Cooper)

A Direct Relief-chartered aircraft landed Monday at Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan with 79,365 lbs of medical aid requested by the Puerto Rico Department of Health, the territory’s Primary Care Association, and more than twenty hospitals and clinics across the island that are still struggling with the effects of Hurricane Maria three months later.

The airlift contained nearly 40 tons of medications and medical essentials, amounting to $20.6 million (wholesale) in donated medications, nutritionals and medical supplies. More than two dozen healthcare companies provided these items, which included extensive quantities of intravenous solutions and prescription medications for acute conditions and chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.

aircraft lands at puerto rico airport
Cargo plane lands in San Juan with $20.6 million (wholesale) in emergency medical aid from Direct Relief

“The airlift’s arrival reflects the ongoing concern and support for Puerto Ricans from thousands of people, including those at the dozens of companies who have stepped forward to help,” said Direct Relief President and CEO Thomas Tighe. “The need and importance of the medical and health resources for people who need them is obvious, but the fact that they are here only because people from all walks took some action is particularly meaningful during the holiday season.”

The following companies contributed donations of medicine, supplies and funding for the flight:
3M, Abbott, AbbVie, ABF Freight, Alcon Laboratories, Inc., Amgen Foundation, Ansell Healthcare, Baxter International Inc., Bayer, BD, Boehringer Ingelheim Cares Foundation, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Colgate Oral Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories LTD., Eli Lilly and Company, Essential Oxygen, GSK, Henry Schein, Inc., Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Kaleo Pharma, Mylan, Nephron Pharmaceuticals, Pfizer, Prestige Brands, Sagent Pharmaceuticals, Sundial Brands, Teva Pharmaceuticals, USA, Trividia Health, Vaseline, and We Care Solar.

“Amgen Foundation is proud to support Direct Relief’s tireless work to meet the ongoing health needs of Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria,” said Eduardo Cetlin, president of the Amgen Foundation. “Direct Relief continues to play a critical role in fulfilling the need for medical resources following the storm, and our support of their efforts reflects our commitment to the people.”

Since Hurricane Maria made landfall on Sept. 20, Direct Relief’s private assistance efforts have totaled over 218 tons (423,644 lbs) of specifically requested medical essentials valued at more than $52 million wholesale to bolster the health system and enable care for Puerto Rico’s residents. Direct Relief has provided these resources via 181 deliveries to more than 50 nonprofit health centers, public health facilities, emergency medical teams, and locally run nonprofit organizations focused on diabetes, vaccinations, and women’s health throughout Puerto Rico.


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