Augusto Martínez – Eli Lilly and Company

Lilly’s Latam legal manager prescribes growth

An in-house attorney who’s doing their job well knows they’re a voice for the company’s growth. It’s about saying “yes” as much as possible—while making sure what they advise also complies with legal and ethical standards.

Augusto Martínez – Eli Lilly and Company

Augusto Martínez | Regional Legal Manager | Eli Lilly and Company

Saying yes in the face of a global pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges to Augusto Martínez, the Latin American regional legal manager for Eli Lilly and Co.

Throughout the region he serves, including Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and nations in Central America and the Caribbean, he’s not only worked through myriad legal requirements needed to keep Lilly’s Latam operations going, he’s helped patch together the network ensuring its sales staff can continue to serve healthcare professionals.

“Our sales force remains remote even though some countries may have eased restrictions,” Martinez explains. “The company has not allowed them to get out because of concern for staff, but we still need to deliver therapies and medicines.”

Change comes quickly

Founded in 1876 in Indianapolis, Eli Lilly’s global footprint includes manufacturing plants in eight countries and clinical research conducted in 55 countries by 7,900 employees. Its products are sold in 120 countries and the company employs about 34,000 people.

The arrival of COVID-19 in the spring not only presented Martinez with new sets of rules and guidelines varying from nation to nation—those rules frequently changed from day to day.

At times it’s a matter of procedure. In Mexico, he had to document operating protocols with the government to gain approval to operate. In Peru and Ecuador, Lilly employees needed to certify, if asked, that they were part of an essential business, Martínez says.

One saving grace: The company already had many of the digital tools in place to ensure it could hold virtual meetings and staff could work remotely when needed.

However, with some of those formats used more frequently for personal gatherings (rather than business meetings), Martínez and the regional IT team needed to be sure that the proper security was in place to protect data and personal information. They also had to boost bandwidth and server capacities to accommodate the new demand for online meetings.

Augusto Martínez – Eli Lilly and Company

A resident of Mexico City, Martínez typically visited the offices in his region three or four times annually. This year, he made one trip in January, and isn’t certain when the next one will be.

“Right now, we are working for a safe return to work,” he says. “The most important thing is to keep our sales and administrative force safe and protected so when the authorities in each country approve the reopening, we’ll be ready to go.”

Supplying the need

The coronavirus pandemic has also put telemedicine into play, and some nations are now allowing e-signatures on documents—changes Martínez welcomes.

A major change comes in the way Lilly’s sales staff works with its customers to provide them with pharmaceutical samples they can use to begin a patient care regimen.

Pre-COVID-19, these were face-to-face consultations, Martínez explains, with sales reps visiting offices.

Augusto Martínez – Eli Lilly and Company

But the time-tested process was itself tested when sales staff began working remotely and physicians began reducing in-person visits, while government regulations prohibited couriers from delivering pharmaceutical samples.

Martínez was not alone in the industry in lobbying for changes to allow samples to get distributed. At the same time, Lilly must be certain whoever is handling sample deliveries is doing so securely, he adds.

In most nations, Lilly is working with its distributors to deliver samples, but even then, those distributors don’t always have the staff on hand to make deliveries and are as concerned for the safety of their employees as Lilly.

Changing how samples are delivered, as some privacy and consulting rules are also changed to enable doctors to practice remotely, has some benefits, Martínez adds.

“It’s going to be the new way of working. Because of this pandemic, we’ve figured out new ways to do things,” he says.

Helping at home

Martínez has more than helped Lilly work through COVID-19 in the regions where he oversees legal operations. He’s also moved back home with his parents to help them get through the pandemic safely.

Both face health complications, making them vulnerable to the worst of COVID-19’s effects. His brother and sister are also pitching in, doing things like buying and cleaning food.

Augusto Martínez – Eli Lilly and Company

“It’s a relief to be with my family in this pandemic,” Martínez says. “I’m blessed I can do so, and I know a lot of people who don’t have this opportunity.”

Living with his parents also reconnects him with the greatest influence on his decision to pursue a legal career.

“My dad is a lawyer and dedicated his professional life to the pharmaceutical industry,” Martínez says. “Before entering the university, I worked with my father and that confirmed my interest for this discipline.”

Martínez earned his law degree from Universidad La Salle AC in 2012 and joined Johnson & Johnson as an external attorney handling contracts as well as the implementation and training for an automated contract preparation system.

In 2014, he became the regional legal, compliance and data privacy manager for Dräger, a German company that makes medical and safety technology, such as anesthesia workstations.

In April 2018, Martínez was hired as Lilly’s Latin American regional legal manager.

Whether it’s working to ensure the supply of therapies and medicines to physicians or keeping Lilly’s employees safe through a pandemic, Martínez says he’s found a purpose in his work.

“It’s our responsibility to fight for justice in our job and we have the responsibility to teach younger lawyers about how to be responsible and ethical in their work,” he says. “We have to support companies and the lives and families of the patients, families, doctors and nurses. If we help a patient to improve their health, we can help the people around the patient to improve their lives, too.”

Showcase your feature on your website with a custom “As Featured in Vanguard” badge that links directly to your article!

Copy and paste this script into your page coding (ideally right before the closing tag) where you want to display our review banner.


As promised in advance, my feature in Vanguard has increased my visibility within the profession and prompted more than a few people I have not communicated with recently to reconnect. One of the Italian law firms I have used in the past is now in the process of interviewing me for an article on their website and tweeting out the feature story. Activity and the number of people connecting with me on LinkedIn has soared, which is great. The Vanguard writers and editorial staff were great to work with—highly professional and made the effort to make the experience both fun and rewarding (they were also respectful of the time pressures and demands all lawyers face). I was very pleased with the experience and the final outcome. Needless to say, I have been very pleased. All in all working with Vanguard has been a very positive experience which generated good publicity for both Shawcor and myself. My sincere thanks.
– Tim Hutzul, General Counsel, ShawCor Ltd.
It was a great honor to be featured in Vanguard Law. Working with every member of the team, from the initial interview with Erin Clark, through production with Victor Martins, writing the article with Taryn Plumb and creating the final content with Dave Gushee, was a true pleasure. Everyone was very professional, enthusiastic and supportive, and their creative approach and positive attitude clearly came through in the final product.
– Kevin C. Rakowski, Senior Vice President, Deputy General Counsel, Compliance with Radian Group Inc.
The piece highlighting my company, Bob Baker Enterprises, Inc., came out fabulous. Our company is in the new and used car sales and service industry. Everyone was great to work with and extremely professional. They produced a high-quality product and have provided expert assistance and guidance post-production of the article.
– Wade Poulson, General Counsel, Bob Baker Enterprises Inc.
I was honored to be the subject of an article. I enjoy reading Vanguard articles and seeing how other attorneys got to their positions and see their jobs. It's also interesting to see how different law firms partner with the subjects of the articles.
– Henry Marquard, in-house counsel, Stanley Consultants Inc.


Spring III 2024



  • * We’ll never share your email or info with anyone.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.