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Trump's New HHS Nominee Is a Former Pharma Executive
15 November 2017, 09:53 | Randall Craig
Trump just nominated this Lebanese-American to join his cabinet
Even President Trump says so.
The nomination of Alex Azar, the former head of Eli Lilly's US operations, shows that Trump was never serious about his promise to stop the pharmaceutical industry from 'getting away with murder'.
"President Trump has nominated in Mr. Azar someone who shares his misguided and factually flawed views on the Affordable Care Act", Woodhouse said.
He also served several years on the board of directors of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, a drug industry lobbying group, and earlier was general counsel and deputy secretary for Health and Human Services under former Republican President George W. Bush.
Trump famously said pharma is "getting away with murder", and previously crossed party lines to endorse Medicare price negotiations.
Gottlieb's name was one floated for the HHS chief position after former secretary Tom Price resigned in September, but the FDA commissioner said in a Reuters interview he felt he is "most effective" at the drug agency. He also pointed to Eli Lilly raising drug prices by double digits while Azar was an executive at the company.
Critics mocked the selection by a president who promised to drain the Washington "swamp" of lobbyists and has complained about "RIPOFF DRUG PRICES" on Twitter.
Azar's nomination is sure to encounter more pushback. For those opposed to the path Trump has been taking Health and Human Services, Alex Azar symbolizes yet another attack on the progress made by the Affordable Care Act with his policy preferences aimed at undercutting and reversing numerous ACA's provisions.
But Azar's pharmaceutical industry background prompted immediate questions about potential conflicts of interest and criticism from Democrats, who expressed concern about how he will handle Obamacare and whether he will be tough on drug makers.
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