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Trump chooses drug executive as health secretary

14 November, 2017, 01:53 | Author: Kristen Ingram
  • Alex Azar previously worked as Deputy Health and Human Services Secretary during the George W. Bush administration

The nomination of Alex Azar is unusual because HHS secretaries have tended to come from the ranks of elected officials such as governors, leaders in academia and medicine, or top executive branch managers - not industries regulated by the department.

Alex Azar, a former executive with Eli Lilly, was nominated by President Donald Trump as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). "As a former HHS Deputy Secretary and General Counsel, and former life sciences executive, Mr. Azar is uniquely equipped to work with HHS' umbrella agencies in AHRQ, CMS, FDA and HRSA to tackle independent and cross agency thorny policy issues requiring tough talk and action".

Azar worked at the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly for ten years until leaving this past January.

Mr. Trump made his announcement in a Twitter post while traveling in Asia.

"It's time to turn over a new leaf at HHS", said Sen.

"'The drug companies, frankly, are getting away with murder, and we want to bring our prices down to what other countries are paying, or at least close and let the other countries pay more", the president told reporters gathered in the Cabinet Room, ' Trump said then.

Trump has been a sharp critic of the industry. He previously worked in the Health and Human Services agency during the George W. Bush administration. Seema Verma, who runs the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and would work for Azar if he's confirmed, has said she, too, favors giving states waivers to create their own Medicaid systems. Ross was chairman of a private equity firm he founded and later sold.

Admirers say Azar's drug industry experience should be considered an asset, not a liability.

Trump's first HHS secretary, Tom Price, resigned in September after his extensive use of private and military jets at taxpayer expense was revealed.

Azar is President Donald Trump's choice to replace Tom Price.

"Would (Azar) have been better off if he had been meditating in an ashram after serving as deputy secretary?" asked Troy.

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