Trump's Health and Human Services Nominee Has Background in Big Pharma

Trump's Health and Human Services Nominee Has Background in Big Pharma

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, vowed Monday to vigorously oppose President Donald Trump's nomination of a former pharmaceutical executive to serve as the next secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Please adhere to our commenting policy to avoid being banned. He became head of Lilly's USA operations in 2012 and served in that role until he left the company this January.

Azar also drew praise from PhRMA, the largest pharmaceutical industry trade group and America's Health Insurance Plans, the key lobbyist for the insurer industry.

In contrast to Mr. Price, an orthopedic surgeon and former Republican congressman, Mr. Azar is a lawyer and health care expert who allies predicted would use his deep knowledge of the federal bureaucracy to advance Mr. Trump's agenda of undermining President Barack Obama's health care law. He served as the HHS deputy secretary under President George W. Bush. "The drug companies, frankly, are getting away with murder", the president said at a Cabinet meeting this fall.

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"Much of the focus will likely be changing the ideology under which the existing law will be administered", said Mike Leavitt, a former secretary of health and human services who was Azar's boss during the Bush administration when speaking to the New York Times. We need an HHS secretary who is willing to take on the greed of the pharmaceutical industry and lower prescription drug prices, not one who has financially benefitted from this greed.

Premier CEO Susan DeVore said in a statement the company worked with Azar when he was at HHS previously as the agency crafted early value-based payment models.

Frustrated by fruitless efforts to overturn the Affordable Care Act in Congress, Trump might see the regulatory route as his best chance to make a mark on health care.

Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said Azar has qualifications and experience to get results and he will quickly schedule a hearing on his nomination.

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