Experience Eli Lilly’s Humble Beginnings at Indiana Historical Society

If you haven’t been to an Indiana Historical Society “You Are There” exhibit, you need to rethink some things. They are always artfully done and make for an incredibly engaging way to learn history.

The new “Eli Lilly at the Beginning” experience is no different. I visited the facility in November for a “Getting to Know” feature in BizVoice (stay tuned for the January/February 2017 edition). Actor Mark McNees was quite knowledgeable, both in and out of character as Col. Lilly, and helped me see Lilly in a way I hadn’t before. Like many central Indiana natives, I’ve always heard about the company and its impact on the pharmaceutical industry — and its dedication to philanthropy — but I was admittedly ignorant about its founder and his humble beginnings. This experience allows visitors to interact with not only Lilly, but his first employees (he only had three) and his son, J.K.

He developed his lab in 1876 in what is the heart of today’s downtown Indianapolis. But the industry climate was quite treacherous.

“In the papers, they called Indiana the dumping ground for bad pharmaceuticals,” McNees explained. “So they were what we call patent medicines – not patents like Lilly would have today – patents were like snake oils. So anybody could say ‘I came up with this hair elixir’ and all you needed to advertise in the paper was a testimonial.

“A lot of times they would go to a family member, who’d say, ‘I tried Uncle Joe’s hair tonic and I grew hair,’” he adds. “So they would sell it through wagons or stores. There was zero regulation at the time. Also, people were making medicines incorrectly and often killing people. We dealt with things like belladonna (deadly night shade), opium, strychnine, things like that.”

McNees relayed that Lilly grew his business largely because of his reputation for quality and consistency.

For more on the experience, which is scheduled to run until January 2018, visit the IHS web site.

Rx for Success: Manchester College Establishing Pharmacy School

Did you know that the inventor of Teflon® graduated from a small, liberal arts college in northern Indiana? Or that the person who discovered acid rain in North America graduated from the very same school? Also, count a Nobel Laureate in chemistry and the first female commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration among its graduates.

Manchester College, alma mater of those impressive alumni, has proven that it can turn out highly achieving graduates in various scientific disciplines. And with the help of a $35 million grant from the Lilly Endowment, the school is now able to delve into a new field with the opening of its School of Pharmacy in 2012.

The grant is the largest in Manchester’s history and will allow the college to start its first doctoral program on a Fort Wayne campus, where it will be surrounded by hospitals, pharmacies and health care facilities. When the school is accredited, it will enroll 265 students in the Doctor of Pharmacy program.

The college announced that it was planning to seek accreditation for a four-year doctoral pharmacy program in the fall of 2009, responding to a shortage of pharmacists and pharmacy school openings.

This new school comes at a time when there is also a growing physician shortage across the nation, enabling more students to pursue careers in pharmacy while staying in Indiana and helping to quell the brain drain. In our current edition of BizVoice® magazine, we explore the ways that pharmacists have been taking on a greater role in the health care system, helping to fill the gap left by a shortage of doctors. For all the details, read the full story in BizVoice.