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Innovative practice

Lilly Expanding Access for People (LEAP) builds capacity in diabetes care in China


To improve community-based care, by strengthening linkages between communities, township clinics and larger teaching hospitals, and empowering people to manage their disease.


Training for primary care physicians in China to increase their confidence and skills in managing diabetes across all stages of the disease.


International Diabetes Center for specific capacity building aspects.


To 14 provinces in China; from 13 in 2016.

In 2015, Eli Lilly launched its Lilly Expanding Access for People (LEAP) initiative targeting diabetes in China’s emerging middle class. Of 400 million people globally who live with diabetes, one in four lives in China.

How is LEAP addressing diabetes care in China?
In communities where LEAP operates, some patients can access basic diabetes medicines including human insulins, but the healthcare clinics where they typically seek care are often under-equipped to provide the right support and quality care for diabetes, which is a lifelong disease. Many healthcare practitioners working in these clinics lack the confidence and capability to effectively manage diabetes, especially when it involves the prescription of insulin. Under LEAP, Eli Lilly aims to ensure that primary care physicians receive improved training to increase their confidence and skills to manage diabetes across all stages of the disease.

Eli Lilly's LEAP builds capacity of primary care physicians to manage patients' diabetes.

The programme also aims to improve community-based care by strengthening linkages between community and township clinics with diabetes experts and larger teaching hospitals, and empowering people to manage their disease with the support of Lilly Diabetes Educators. In this way, through LEAP, Eli Lilly aims to address what it sees as a gap in community diabetes care. LEAP uses a “shared value” approach, looking to develop future markets while strengthening local economies, marketplaces and communities, and working to increase the number of people it serves with its core business model by expanding access to its products and services, specifically among China’s middle class.

LEAP began initially by targeting smaller communities in six north-eastern Chinese provinces, where local healthcare clinics lacked the capability to deal with diabetes effectively, especially in the prescription of insulin. LEAP trains primary care physicians, increasing skill and building confidence in overseeing all stages of disease. Partnering with government departments, LEAP works to improve community-based care, strengthening links between clinics and hospitals, using diabetes educators to increase knowledge, and supporting patients.

How has this business model been scaled up?
In LEAP’s first two years, its team collected data relating to impacts on Eli Lilly’s business in China. By 2016, LEAP was working with around 5,000 community organisations, and had helped around 20,000 people to start insulin therapy. By early 2018, it extended its reach to nearly half of China’s 32 provinces, teaching self-management skills to more than 33,000 people, training 40,000 primary care doctors, and introducing insulin products to 165,000 patients. This was achieved with 100 Eli Lilly diabetes care partners and educators in collaboration with the International Diabetes Center to deliver the training curriculum for primary care physicians. The company now has around 200 dedicated personnel working with LEAP and plans to extend the initiative to more provinces.

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