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Lilly CEO Stresses Human Element in Driving Medical Innovation
Date:1/14/2010

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 14 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- In the keynote address at a Town Hall Los Angeles luncheon event today, John C. Lechleiter, Ph.D., chairman and CEO of Eli Lilly and Company, said that in the current challenging economic times, sustaining our nation's edge in innovation and improving our focus on medical innovation's richest resource – people – is imperative to achieving prosperity and health in the coming decade.  His speech focused on bioscience innovation, a sector in which Los Angeles boasts one of the largest concentrations of jobs in the country.

Lechleiter outlined three policies necessary to foster innovation:

  • Broad improvement in science and math education in our grade schools and high schools,
  • Immigration policies that encourage top scientists to choose to work in the United States, and
  • Sustained funding in basic research.  

Lechleiter said that talented people and their ideas are essential to driving innovation in the bioscience sector and creating new treatments and cures for patients. Medical innovation has led to longer life spans and enhanced livelihoods, with well-paid jobs. "We tend to think of innovation in terms of technology, science, and labs but innovation is essentially the application of human ingenuity to improve human life," said Lechleiter. "To fully appreciate innovation, we have to see and understand clearly its benefits for humankind."  

Lechleiter explained that a broad understanding of math and science is essential for young people to participate in the high-tech economy of the future, and said the U.S. is falling short on science and math education:


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