Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) CEO David Ricks appeared exclusively on the FOX Business Network Wednesday to share his thoughts on congressional Republicans’ plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
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“We applaud Speaker Ryan and Secretary Price for getting out and putting a proposal on the table that seems like a reasonable and concrete plan to, as they said, repeal Obamacare and replace it so patients who rely on some of these services can transition,” Ricks told the FOX Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo.
Ricks sees the potential rollback in taxes in the Republican proposal as a boon to innovation in the pharmaceutical industry.
“We’re all for rolling back taxes on innovation and that’s really one of the principles we’d like to see, is a health care system that rewards innovation, that encourages people, not discourages them from using the newest medications.”
Obamacare did little to lower drug prices for low-income Americans, according to Ricks.
“Unfortunately Maria, in the Affordable Care Act, medicines were very expensive for some of our poorest citizens, more expensive than other parts of the health care system.”
On President Trump’s calls to create a competitive marketplace for medication in an effort to bring drug prices down, Ricks felt that would be more effective than government intervention through regulations, saying, “We’re all for competition.”
Ricks also explained the negative economic impact of the current U.S. tax system.
“The system we have over the last 30 years is producing the economy we have, which is sluggish growth, a depression in middle class wages and a reduction in manufacturing and an increase in the trade deficit. If we want to change any of those things, we need a new tax code.”
But Ricks sees the blueprint for tax reform – laid out this week by House Speaker Paul Ryan and Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) – as an economic game changer, saying, “We are for it because we think it addresses all those things.”
Along with an positive outlook for changes in Washington, D.C. regarding health care and tax reform, Ricks had a bullish outlook for innovation at the pharmaceutical company.
“Lilly’s innovation productivity has improved dramatically. We’ve launched seven drugs in the last two years, up to 13 more in the next five years. So, we’re in a very exciting time for innovation.”