Lechleiter Targets 'Meaningless Disclosure Mandates'

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INDIANAPOLIS -

The chief executive officer of Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE: LLY) is firing back at what he calls "an unprecedented affront to free-market competition." In an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, Lechleiter says a call from President Barack Obama and presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders to release more data on research and development and insurer discounts shows a "misunderstanding" of how the pharmaceutical industry works.

The Obama Administration and the candidates say the industry need reforms amid rising drug costs.

Lechleiter says the key figures they are seeking are already "disclosed freely." Lechleiter adds " and we know how to get better value from medicines and improve their affordability to patients." Overall R&D numbers are reported in annual and quarterly financial statements by publicly-traded companies like Lilly and Lechleiter says "the proposal to mandate the nearly impossible task of assembling drug-by-drug R&D-spending figures misses the whole point." Lilly pumped some $4.8 billion into R&D last year.

Lechleiter suggests several ways to make the industry more efficient, including creating access points for companies to share potential new molecules and “pre-competitive” research possible treatments in order to cut down on duplication.

In closing, Lechleiter says "the realities that determine the cost of medicines to patients don’t require mandated disclosures. They are as plain as day. They simply need to be acknowledged and acted upon rather than distorted and ignored."

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