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Eli Lilly & Co., the pharmaceuticals company, was facing tough times. Over a three-year period, it would see the patents expire for products that accounted for a third of its sales.
Amid layoffs in 2009, CEO John C. Lechleiter called top leaders into a meeting, said Rob Friedman, Lilly’s senior director of executive communications.
Many in the room felt Lilly should follow its competitors that were moving away from costly drug development. Lechleiter, however, told three stories of how the company recovered from similar crises by innovating, not creating generic meds or branching into consumer products as others were.