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.

A More Effective War On Meth

EDITOR’S NOTE: Indiana legislators are currently negotiating a compromise on efforts to limit methamphetamine production through controls on pseudoephedrine and ephedrine purchases. The following opinion is submitted by Alex Brill, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and former chief economist for the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means.

Communities across the country are being torn apart by methamphetamine (meth) abuse and addiction, and local legislators are taking notice, especially in Indiana.

Demand for meth remains high, and meth produced in Mexico has replaced domestic supply. In 2016, many state lawmakers are again considering legislation to address the meth problem but unfortunately are focusing on a recurring misguided solution: requiring a prescription for medications that contain pseudoephedrine (PSE), an ingredient in some cold and allergy medicines that is used in domestic meth production.

In Indiana, lawmakers are considering legislation that would require at least a pharmacy consultation before an individual could purchase a PSE-based medicine. For anyone who does not have a relationship with the pharmacist, a prescription could also be required. This type of policy would unduly burden law-abiding cold and allergy sufferers and would do nothing to address either the growing supply of meth from Mexico or the underlying causes of addiction.

As I noted in a recent study, requiring a prescription for PSE-based medicines would impose significant costs on consumers, private insurers, and state and federal government. According to Avalere Health, a national prescription-only policy would result in an estimated 1.2 million new doctor visits per year, including over 25,000 in Indiana alone. If such a policy were imposed nationwide, consumer out-of-pocket costs would jump $42.7 million, private insurer costs would spike $56 million, and Medicare and Medicaid would pay $19.5 million more. On top of this would be the indirect costs imposed on the millions of consumers who would be forced to take time off from work or school to visit a doctor for a prescription. For those who are unable to do so, their colds and allergies may go untreated, as a PSE-based medicine is the only oral decongestant that works for some people.

There is another option for states, like Indiana, that face immediate pressure to reduce domestic meth supply: the National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx), which allows law enforcement to electronically track the purchase of medicines that contain PSE in real time (making it easier for them to identify potential criminal activity and intervene at the point of sale), and drug-offender block lists that ban those convicted of drug-related criminal offenses from purchasing these medicines.

Alabama and Oklahoma have both introduced NPLEx coupled with a drug offender block list and have seen 77 and 88 percent declines, respectively, in meth lab seizures. In addition, state policymakers should support federal efforts to increase drug interdiction at the U.S.-Mexico border to address the meth supply coming over the border.

More must be done to address the meth problem, but the tools being used must be shown to be effective. My recent study draws a clear conclusion: lawmakers should reject the costly, burdensome, and ineffective strategy of requiring prescriptions or a pharmacy consult for PSE-based medicines. Instead, our leaders should work to reduce the supply of illicit drugs from Mexico and curb the demand by those in our country suffering from addiction.

A Different Kind of Inheritance Tax?

We were proud to join many Hoosiers and legislators in the 2012 session in striking down Indiana’s inheritance tax.

While it’s not quite the same thing, this story from Minnesota raises interesting questions about the government’s role in monitoring monetary gifts from one person to another. Read the saga of the waitress/mother of five and her alleged "drug money" donation, and let us know in the comments section if you think the police did the right thing. The Duluth News Tribune has the story:

For the struggling waitress with five children, the $12,000 left at the table in a to-go box must have seemed too good to be true.

Moorhead police decided it was just that.

Now, the waitress is suing in Clay County District Court, claiming the cash was given to her and police shouldn’t have seized it as drug money.

“The thing that’s sad about it is here’s somebody who truly needs this gift … and now the government is getting in the way of it,” said the woman’s attorney, Craig Richie of Fargo.

Moorhead police Lt. Tory Jacobson said he couldn’t discuss the matter.

“We certainly have an ongoing investigation with it, with suspicion of narcotics or the involvement of narcotics investigators,” he said.

Assistant County Attorney Michelle Lawson also declined to discuss the pending lawsuit.

The Forum isn’t identifying the waitress in order to protect her in case the cash was part of a drug deal.

According to the lawsuit filed three weeks ago:

The waitress was working at the Moorhead Fryn’ Pan when she noticed that a woman had left a to-go box from another restaurant on the table.

The waitress picked it up, followed the woman to her car and tried to give her the box, but the woman replied, “No, I am good; you keep it.”

The waitress thought that was strange, but she agreed and went back inside the restaurant, the lawsuit states. The box felt too heavy to contain only leftovers, so she looked inside and found cash rolled up in rubber bands.

“Even though I desperately needed the money as my husband and I have 5 children, I feel I did the right thing by calling Moorhead Police,” she states in the lawsuit.

Police arrived and seized the money, which the woman was told amounted to roughly $12,000. She was first told the money would be hers if it wasn’t claimed within 60 days, the lawsuit states. Then she claims she was told to wait 90 days. Continue reading