"The U.S. is really the outlier here," Ricks said during an interview on CNBC's "Power Lunch." "Our system is old, antiquated and this is the time for change."
President Trump told drug-makers he wants to make it easier for pharmaceutical companies, such as Eli Lilly, to win regulatory approval for their products. Ricks has called his past meeting with Trump "positive" — citing advantages already in place that make the pharma industry attractive to a pro-U.S., pro-business president, such as largely U.S.-based research and development.
Ricks said the U.S. needs corporate tax reform — something he believes House Speaker Paul Ryan has made a "great start" on. Further, the pharma CEO said he welcomes more support from the Trump administration when it comes to "trade enforcement." Ricks views this as something that could impact drug prices, moving forward.
When it comes to Trump's immigration ban, which has been put on hold, Ricks said Eli Lilly has had the same position on immigrants for a long time — that stance being in favor of expanding the visa program to allow companies like Ricks' to hire more skilled workers.
"Many times people come to the U.S. to study … [Eli Lilly wants] a visa program that allows us to hire those graduates," to fill jobs.