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Eli Lilly CEO Welcomes Amazon's Arrival in the Health Care Business

Photograph by Simone Baribeau — Bloomberg via Getty Images

How does Eli Lilly CEO Dave Ricks feel about Amazon, J.P. Morgan and Berkshire Hathaway getting into the health care business from a non-profit angle? “Good,” apparently.

The trio’s Tuesday announcement whacked shares of health care-related companies, from drugstore operators and distributors to health insurers. The group’s initial focus will be on using technology to reduce costs for their own employees as—in Warren Buffett’s words—”the ballooning costs of health care act as a hungry tapeworm on the American economy.”

According to Ricks, the new non-profit’s partners are “forward-thinking, innovative people” and Buffett, Jeff Bezos and Jamie Dimon are “thought leaders.”

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“We welcome choice and competition in health care markets, and I look forward to seeing what they come up with,” Ricks told CNBC. “Actually, I don’t think it’s a bad thing.”

Ricks also addressed President Donald Trump’s decision to lambast pharmaceutical companies over the price of prescription drugs, in his State of the Union address Tuesday evening.

Prescription medications are, Ricks said, “the best deal going in health care,” as they keep people out of more expensive treatment facilities.

“Consumers increasingly bearing the cost of those prescriptions—that’s an insurance design issue,” he said. “Medications are the most efficient part of the system in our eyes.”

Eli Lilly’s fourth quarter results came out Wednesday, with revenues beating analyst expectations at $6.2 billion versus the expected $5.9 billion and earnings per share coming in at $1.14 rather than $1.07.

The firm also boosted its 2018 guidance thanks to the lower tax rate afforded by the new tax law.

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