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.
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. Price racked up roughly $1 million in private and government air travel in just seven months, according to Politico. Mr. Azar, when he was president of Lilly USA, was an HLC member and served on the organization's executive committee.
If confirmed, Azar also would take the lead in implementing Trump's campaign promise to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, the 2010 healthcare overhaul passed under former Democratic President Barack Obama.
"At a time when the United States pays, by far, the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs, the last thing we need is to put a pharmaceutical executive in charge of the Department of Health and Human Services". The complexity of pharmaceutical pricing has thwarted legislation to lower drug prices.
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Alex Azar is the latest Hoosier headed to Washington for a post in the federal health sector.
Today President Donald Trump nominated Alex Azar to be the next U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS).
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.
The nomination of Azar represents a shift for Trump, who in his Cabinet picks to date often has not selected candidates with experience in the department they would oversee.