Azar, who served as the head of Eli Lilly's US operations for five years until he stepped down from the position in January, previously served as deputy secretary of HHS under the George W. Bush administration.
Alex Azar, who President Donald Trump intends to nominate secretary of HHS, said he believes pharmaceutical companies are not to blame for the high cost of prescription drugs, which contradicts much of President Trump's rhetoric on the issue, according toBloomberg.
Marilyn Tavenner, president and CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans, said Azar has the "experience and expertise to combine the best from the private sector with the best of our public programs to make healthcare work for every American".
Cummings and Senator Bernie Sanders, a 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, previous year called for a federal probe into whether Eli Lilly, Sanofi SA, Merck & Co Inc and Novo Nordisk A/S colluded to set prices on insulin and other diabetes drugs. He will be a star for better healthcare and lower drug prices!
Dr. Azar's father immigrated to the USA from Lebanon about 100 years ago, now his grandson is serving in the nation's cabinet.
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Although the Patients for Affordable Drugs said it was concerned that the former drug company executive may not take action on skyrocketing drug prices, Ben Wakana, executive director, said in a statement that Azar is well-qualified for the position.
If the new HHS head is confirmed, he would take the seat of Tom Price, who had to step down in September in the midst of a scandal regarding his government-funded private charter flights for official and personal business. He would also help the Trump administration to dismantle Obamacare and crack down on drug prices.
Democratic Senator Patty Murray, who has been working on bipartisan healthcare legislation, tweeted, "Given Alex Azar's professional background, there are concerns on whether he can fairly execute any significant effort to lower drug prices for patients & families".
Azar has worked at HHS before: From 2005-07, he was a deputy secretary in the department, and from 2001-05, he was general counsel. In contrast, at a panel a year ago hosted by the Manhattan Institute, Mr. Azar said it is up to drugmakers, not the government, to determine the cost of drugs. "He had full responsibility as deputy secretary for the regulatory processes at HHS".