#PhRMA12: What April 12 Means to PhRMA's Chairman

#PhRMA12: What April 12 Means to PhRMA's Chairman

04.13.12 | By Kate Connors

New PhRMA Chairman John Lechleiter, President and CEO of Eli Lilly and Company, continued the vein of optimism in his comments this morning. He urged those of us in the room "to stand up for policies that support innovation, to continue to build trust with our stakeholders, and to get our powerful story out."

We must do so, he said, to continue the "heroic work of healing and saving lives well into the future."

Yesterday's date, April 12, is "famous in the annals of innovation." On that date in 1961, the first human flew in space. Twenty years later to the date was the launch of the space shuttle program. Around the world, these moments in space exploration have been held up as examples of true innovation.

However, Lechleiter said, there is a much more important April 12. On that date in 1955, it was announced that Jonas Salk's polio vaccine worked: "That vaccine turned a disease that once horrified America into a memory, and over time would do so for most of the world."

He added: "Medical innovation over the past century transformed the basic expectations of human life that had prevailed since the dawn of civilization."

Lechleiter continued, discussing the overall value of prescription medicines. And he discussed medical need. And he discussed increases in generic utilization rates.

But after the last day and a half of conversation about innovation, collaboration and development, it feels good to focus on the aspirational, because all of us here in Boston certainly share that optimism: "I believe that the juxtaposition of new insights into human biology, coupled with the application of new tools and advancements in technology, has the potential to revolutionize our business more in the next ten years than in the past 50."

He closed urging us all to "preserve the innovation that is at the heart of what we do and that people are counting on us for."

Follow Kate on Twitter @KateAtPhRMA.

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