Trump's New HHS Nominee Is a Former Pharma Executive

15 November, 2017, 09:53 | Author: Eloise Marshall
  • Alex Azar won President Trump's nomination for HHS secretary on Monday

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.

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. More recently, Azar served in many roles with Eli Lilly and Company, an worldwide pharmaceutical company, where as President of Lilly USA, he oversaw the substantial rise in drug prices while simultaneously serving on the board for the world's largest pharmaceutical lobby, Biotechnology Innovation Organization.

Azar's nomination for HHS Secretary follows the ascendance of Seema Verma, who now leads the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, and former State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams, who became Surgeon General this summer.

Cowen analyst Eric Assaraf, for his part, wrote in a note seen by Business Insider that even though "Trump specifically called out lowering drug prices in his announcement of Azar, we don't believe his appointment will mark a change in course in that realm".

If confirmed, Azar will oversee the National Institute of Health, the CDC, the FDA and other agencies. Ron Wyden said the president "at every turn. has broken his promises to American families to lower health care costs, expand access and bring down the high price of prescription drugs." Sen.

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.

Azar's nomination must be approved by the US Senate, which is controlled by Trump's fellow Republicans.

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