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In a speech last week to the City Club of San Diego, John Lechleiter, chairman and chief executive officer of Eli Lilly, offered very candid remarks about the state of innovation in the pharmaceutical industry, saying that the engine of biopharmaceutical innovation is “broken.” His comments may be a bitter pill to swallow in light of escalating investment in research and development (R&D), but his frankness may just be the remedy the industry needs to reinvent itself.

“At a time when world desperately needs more new medicines—for everything from H1N1 to Alzheimer’s disease—we are taking too long, spending too much, and producing far too little,” said Lechleiter. “Repowering pharmaceutical innovation is an urgent need not only for our company and our industry but for our nation—and for communities like San Diego and Indianapolis [the headquarters of Eli Lilly] that have a huge stake in the life sciences. We remain dependent on a society that welcomes and values new ideas, and public policy that enables innovation to be rewarded for the value it creates. But we also know that we need to change.”

Repairing the Engine of Drug Innovation