About Us



Lilly is a global healthcare leader that unites caring with discovery to make life better for people around the world by discovering and developing new medicines, improving the understanding and management of disease, and supporting people with serious illness and their families. Lilly is committed to expanding access to medicines, through collaborating and working with partners to address serious health challenges and improve health outcomes for underserved populations. Lilly is a discovery driven company. Encouraged by the knowledge that science makes a difference to people‘s lives, Lilly‘s scientists and researchers have been developing ’first in class‘ medicines for over 140 years. Lilly was one of the first companies to start a pharmaceutical research programme, which has led to many medical ’firsts‘ over the years in the areas of oncology, neurology, tuberculosis, diabetes and men‘s health.


Lilly 1923
  • Eli Lilly and Company was founded in the United States of America in Indiana, Indianapolis on 10th May 1876, more than 140 years ago.
  • Lilly South Africa was established in 1938.
  • The company employs approximately 38,000 people worldwide.
  • Approximately more than 8,000 employees are engaged in research and development (R&D) in facilities located in eight countries.
  • Lilly‘s medicines are produced at Lilly manufacturing plants in 8 countries.
  • Lilly‘s medicines are marketed in 120 countries.



Lilly was founded by Colonel Eli Lilly on May 10, 1876, who opened a small business in the heart of the Midwest on Pearl Street in Indianapolis, Indiana. Colonel Lilly was one of the first in the business to rely on pharmaceutical chemistry. His singular purpose was to produce trusted medicines to be given with a doctor‘s prescription. Since our founding in 1876, we have pioneered medical breakthroughs like human insulin, the polio vaccine and many other therapies in the field of cancer, diabetes, mental health and osteoporosis.


“To contribute to the progress of medicine by developing new and superior agents through research.”


The red Lilly trademark, a facsimile of the founder‘s signature, was introduced in 1900 as a symbol of quality and continues today as our promise – of innovation, medical expertise, reliability, and response to customers.


Jack Stamper of Lilly UK is given the opportunity to establish Lilly in South Africa.


Stamper requests assistance from Lilly‘s head office in Indianapolis and W. M. Power is sent to South Africa as a sales representative. By the end of World War II, Eli Lilly South Africa has a staff of seven people. The company enters a growth phase both in products and territory.


A decision is taken to manufacture Eli Lilly‘s pharmaceutical products locally. Land is bought in Isando near Johannesburg.

A notable occasion in the history of Lilly South Africa is the turning of the first sod of earth on the building site by her Worship the Mayoress, I.W. Wengel, of Kempton Park.

Pictured with the Mayoress: (left to right): Mr. F.W. Peters, Mr. W.O. MacLaren, Mr. L. Jacobs, Mr. D. Joyce, Mr. A.D. Fregona and Mr. T.A. Mullan.


The plant is officially commissioned and the local manufacturing of products starts. In the same year, Eli Lilly South Africa diversifies into the agricultural and veterinary fields and ELANCO is established. The new company is responsible for major innovations in the years that follow. As a branch of Lilly‘s global animal health division, ELANCO markets and distributes products and services that improve animal health and, with that, the performance of the poultry-, beef-, pork and dairy-farming sectors in South Africa.


The Eli Lilly and Company Foundation is established as a tax-exempt private foundation. The foundation awards grants for philanthropic initiatives aligned to the company‘s corporate responsibility priorities and is dedicated to improving the lives of people who lack the resources to obtain quality healthcare. As such, the foundation‘s primary focus is on low and middle-income countries.


ELANCO introduces ionophores in cattle feed, a technology that transforms the South African feedlot industry.

Eli Lilly International celebrates 100 years of operations.


Lilly introduces an insulin identical to that produced by the human body and contributes to a significant breakthrough in diabetes treatment.


A new office block to house the Lilly training centre is constructed. Training is a priority at Lilly and state-of-the-art training facilities are provided.


ELANCO celebrates its 20th anniversary in South Africa and is recognised as the leader in both cattle and poultry industries and a major contributor in the agri-chemical and empty gelatin-capsule markets.


Adopt-a-School Programme – Lilly adopts primary schools in Tembisa, resulting in the building of 19 classrooms and a mobile laboratory.


In its 50th anniversary year, Eli Lilly is an established leader in the pharmaceutical industry in South Africa.


Manufacturing plants are closed in South Africa, and the company moves to the third-party distribution of products.


The Lilly MDR – TB (Multi Drug Resistant TB) Partnership is formed. The partnership works with the National Department of Health (DOH) to develop a holistic project strategy aligned with the government‘s TB strategy. The aim is to implement community-level programmes to raise awareness about MDR-TB, increase access to treatment, ensure correct completion of treatment and empower patients and communities by eliminating the stigma of the disease. The partnership mobilises 20 partners across five continents to combat MDR-TB.


Eli Lilly South Africa moves its head office to Bryanston.


Elanco moves to Midrand


In December 2008, Lilly Global announces one of its largest donations of insulin, promising to provide free life-saving medicine to as many as 24 000 children by 2013 through ‘Life for a Child’.


The distribution of 800,000 insulin vials begins in nine African countries: Mali, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Cameroon, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Lilly is voted as one of the three best employers in all industry sectors surveyed in the last decade, and as the best pharma company to work for in the Deloitte annual survey.


Lilly South Africa launches a new education initiative – Patient Education Rooms, featuring Conversation MapTM education tools created in collaboration with partners like the International
Diabetes Federation and Healthy.I. Conversation MapsTM are an excellent tool to educate and motivate people living with Diabetes. It is a learning and engaging experience to help healthcare professionals, care givers, patients and their families address the challenges of this disease.


Lilly South Africa launches Lamp – the Lilly ‘Answers that Matter’ Programme – to drive better management of patients on Lilly medicines. Lilly Diabetes embraces the diverse needs of people with Diabetes and pursues success for each individual affected. We engage with patients and enable better self management through the Lamp adherence programme. Lamp provided free telephonic support, guidance and education for people living with Diabetes.

Lilly, in partnership with Project HOPE and the Donald Woods Foundation, launches two pilot programmes in 2011 to address the burden of noncommunicable diseases in South Africa.


Lilly Global donates more than $600 million on products to patients in need, helping more than 300,000 patients.


Eli Lilly South Africa celebrates its 75th anniversary.


10 October 2013 is a global day of service for the 20,000 Lilly employees around the world, where Lilly staff embark on giving back by donating their time in service of their communities.



Lilly Promise

Lilly‘s promise is to unite caring with discovery to make life better for people around the world.”

Lilly Values

Integrity, excellence, and respect for people underpin all that we do at Lilly. We operate our business with integrity and accountability, setting the highest standards for our performance and for the performance of our products. We demonstrate care and respect for all those who share in our mission and are touched by our work.

Lilly Vision

Lilly‘s vision is to make a significant contribution to humanity by improving global health in the 21st century.