Eli Lilly CEO’s top priority is meeting demand for Mounjaro and drugs

Eli Lilly CEO Dave Ricks told CNBC’s Jim Cramer on Tuesday his top priority was to meet demand for the company’s drug, Mounjaro, which is currently only approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat diabetes but is expected to soon be cleared to treat obesity, along with other health conditions.

“It’s my top priority, is expanding the capacity of our ability to make not just Mounjaro but other drugs like it in our pipeline to meet the challenge here,” Ricks said. “People are frustrated when they can’t get their medicine. We understand that, and we’re going to fix that problem.”

Eli Lilly stock surged 15% Tuesday after its better-than-expected earnings report. The drug’s stock — which hit an all-time high of $538 in early trading, according to FactSet — was also bolstered by news that a peer company’s similar diabetes and weight-loss drug could be used to treat cardiovascular issues.

Ricks said the company’s recently opened factory in North Carolina would help increase output, adding that Eli Lilly said last year it planned to double its monthly output by December. He also said the company would soon be launching Mounjaro in a vial as well as in a multiuse pen, which will help increase global supply.

Ricks said he thinks Eli Lilly’s products will help people realize that obesity needs to be treated as an illness, not a just a problem that can be fixed with diet and exercise alone. He likened obesity to depression, noting Eli Lilly’s role in manufacturing Prozac, the depression drug.

“And before we had Prozac, people thought, doctors would tell you, ‘Well, you’re just a little sad.’ We know that’s not true, there’s something called clinical depression,” Ricks said. “We now treat it like a disease. I think in five, 10 years we’ll look back and think about chronic weight management and obesity the same way.”

Eli Lilly CEO David Ricks: Almost one billion people could benefit from obesity medications

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