Eli fought for the Union in the Civil War. Eli was a philanthropist. After Eli was a soldier, and before he was a philanthropist he did something extraordinary. When he was a soldier he saw the awful stuff that passed for medicine. Then he watched his wife who was pregnant with their second child die of malaria.
What did Eli do that was so extraordinary? Eli was a pharmacist? How can a pharmacist be extraordinary? After a few years of working for others, he decided to start a business. Eli didn’t open a pharmacy to sell to the general public. He made drugs and sold them to other pharmacists. That sounds pretty ordinary doesn’t it? Well, OK, it is ordinary now. But when Eli did it, it was extraordinary. Eli lived in a world without gelatin coated capsules, fruit flavored medicines or sugar coated pills. So he invented them. One of the early big selling drugs Eli’s company produced was quinine, the treatment for malaria. In 1881 Eli decided to incorporate his growing company. His name for the company was unoriginal though. He gave it the name of Eli Lilly and Company.
Eli Lilly created the pharmaceutical industry and retired to be a philanthropist. He changed the world, and created a legacy which made the world a far better place by his work as a pharmacist and as a philanthropist. We need more rich people like him, not less.