Eli Lilly CEO on the political heat over drug pricing

Eli Lilly CEO John Lechleiter on third-quarter results, drug pricing, partnerships and the outlook for demand.

Eli Lilly CEO: Our Drug Prices are Fair

By Health Care FOXBusiness

Eli Lilly (LLY) CEO John Lechleiter thinks the presidential election will drum up more controversy over drug prices. During an interview on FOX Business Network’s Mornings with Maria he said:  “If you look back on at least a four-year cycle we see a lot more noise around pricing as we approach the presidential election.”

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Lechleiter argued prices have remained “about” the same over the years and their prices “commensurate” with their value.

“Over many years the percentage that we spend in healthcare on medicines has remained about the same. It’s currently about 12 or 13%... there’s many reasons why newer more valuable medicines tend to be more expensive. The proper use of those medicines keeps people out of the hospital, they [get] people back to work, [and] they essentially avoid a lot of other costs and a lot of other suffering. So I think that’s important to understand.”

Lechleiter said partnerships play a role in keeping costs down and driving the pipeline for Eli Lilly.

“We announced this new expanded partnership this morning with AstraZeneca (AZN), but keep in mind, in 2011 we announced an even bigger partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim that enabled both companies to access diabetes medicines in each other’s pipeline. At the time, I think from a shareholder perspective… this is a less expensive way of essentially enabling in this case, both companies to bring new medicine to market.

Lechleiter said Eli Lilly will continue to pursue partnerships and earlier stage deals.

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