Trump taps ex-pharma executive Azar as USA health secretary

16 November, 2017, 02:31 | Author: Jeffery Armstrong
  • Alex Azar

There are 2 comments on the Reuters story from Monday, titled Trump to tap ex-pharma executive Azar as usa health secretary.

President Donald Trump will nominate Alex Azar, chairman and founder of consulting firm Seraphim Strategies, to lead the Department of Health and Human Services.

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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If confirmed, Azar would be Trump's second HHS secretary, replacing former Georgia congressman Tom Price, who stepped down after just seven months, when his use of private charter planes for government travel created a public controversy that displeased the president.

"Much of the focus will likely be changing the ideology under which the existing law will be administered", said Mike Leavitt, a former secretary of health and human services who was Azar's boss during the Bush administration when speaking to the New York Times.

Trump made the announcement on Twitter, saying Azar "will be a star for better healthcare and lower drug prices".

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Azar's most relevant experience was his previous stint at HHS from 2005 to 2007, where he served first as general counsel and then as deputy secretary. Before Azar joined Lilly, the company faced charges of downplaying the side effects of its blockbuster drug Zyprexa and illegally marketing it to treat conditions it had not been approved for.

In his quest to bring down drug prices, President Trump has advocated for policy proposals that the pharmaceutical industry opposes, including importing drugs from Canada.

Azar is a lawyer by training and once clerked for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

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"He has the chance to stand up for patients because he knows exactly how the drug pricing system is broken", said.Wakana, who previously served as the head of HHS communications under the Obama administration.

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