Trump's Pick for HHS Secretary is Former Pharma Executive Alex Azar

Who Is The Former Pharma Exec Trump Nominated To Lead HHS

Who Is The Former Pharma Exec Trump Nominated To Lead HHS

Alex Azar, a former executive of Eli Lilly was nominated by President Trump today to be Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Democratic Senator Patty Murray, who has been working on bipartisan healthcare legislation, tweeted, "Given Alex Azar's professional background, there are concerns on whether he can fairly execute any significant effort to lower drug prices for patients & families".

Azar's nomination must be approved by the US Senate, which is controlled by Trump's fellow Republicans. Azar previously served as a high-ranking executive at Eli Lilly, which has repeatedly raised the prices of its drugs, doubling the US list price of its top-selling insulin over the 5 years he served as a company president.

Azar's nomination comes after Trump's initial health secretary, former U.S. Representative Tom Price, resigned in September amid criticism over his use of expensive taxpayer-funded private charter jets for government travel instead of cheaper commercial flights.

Azar is an attorney and a pharmaceutical industry veteran. He would also help the Trump administration to dismantle Obamacare and crack down on drug prices.

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Azar served as a HHS official under the George W. Bush administration for about six years before joining the pharmaceutical complex in 2007.

Although the Patients for Affordable Drugs said it was concerned that the former drug company executive may not take action on skyrocketing drug prices, Ben Wakana, executive director, said in a statement that Azar is well-qualified for the position.

He had until early this year served as president of Lilly USA, LLC, the largest affiliate of global biopharmaceutical business Eli Lilly and Company.

After leaving the company, he founded Seraphim Strategies, a consulting firm specialized in pharmaceutical matters. He also thinks Medicaid should be turned into a block grant program and be run by the private sector.

At the time, Azar said President Obama's signature healthcare law was making it impossible for insurers to predict risk and operate normally as private businesses.

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