Trump selects Alex Azar to lead HHS

Trump selects Alex Azar to lead HHS

President Donald Trump has picked a pharma insider to oversee the HHS.

The Trump administration today nominated Alex Azar, who spent almost 10 years at Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) after working in the second Bush administration, as secretary of the U.S. Health & Human Services Dept. "I will vigorously oppose this nomination".

Alex Azar appears to clearly be an establishment choice with his past experience including serving as General Counsel for HHS before becoming the Deputy Secretary under President George W. Bush.

"Mr. Azar, a drug industry lobbyist, has been a harsh critic of the ACA and has gone so far as to say that the law is 'circling the drain' despite evidence to the contrary". He also pointed to Eli Lilly raising drug prices by double digits while Azar was an executive at the company. "He will be a star for better healthcare and lower drug prices!"

Azar spent a decade at Lilly before he stepped down to run a pharmaceutical consulting firm earlier this year.

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Reacting to Azar's selection, Senate Finance Committee ranking member Sen.

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". Wyden said he'll ask Azar to take "take decisive, meaningful action to curtail the runaway train of prescription drug costs".

Azar's nomination is sure to encounter more pushback.

Trump's first health secretary, former US Representative Tom Price, resigned in September amid a public furor over his use of expensive taxpayer-funded private charter jets for government travel.

Azar has argued against drug price controls in the past, Weissman said at the time, making it "highly unlikely" he would "advance real reform" on the issue.

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