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Eli Lilly CEO David Ricks weighs in on drug costs and health reform

  • Ricks said one issue being examined is the difference between list prices and what consumers actually pay.
  • He also advocated for faster FDA approval on generic drugs and "innovative breakthroughs."
  • Ricks' comments come on the same day as a media report saying President Trump is preparing to sign an executive order aimed at lowering drug prices.

Eli Lilly CEO David Ricks on Thursday zeroed in on drug costs and the need for faster regulatory approvals as the debate over health-care reform rages on.

"We hope this is a moment where we can make improvements in the health care system for everyday Americans," he told CNBC in an interview at the Heartland Summit in Minnesota.

One issue being talked about, according to Ricks, is why individual payers in high-deductible plans are paying the list price for medications.

"Because we're providing deep rebates to payers in the system who enjoy those, but the small guy, the consumer on the street, doesn't get that same benefit," Ricks said.

He also advocated for faster FDA approval on generic drugs and "innovative breakthroughs," in areas such as Alzheimer's and cancer treatment, to help increase competition in the pharmaceutical industry.

Ricks' comments came the same day as a Bloomberg report that said President Donald Trump was preparing to sign an executive order aimed at lowering drug prices, causing pharmaceutical stocks to drop.

Drug costs have become an increasingly visible issue following the controversial price hikes orchestrated by pharma bro Martin Shkreli and the uproar over Mylan's skyrocketing EpiPen costs, among other developments.