The nomination of Alex Azar, the former head of Eli Lilly's USA operations, shows that Trump was never serious about his promise to stop the pharmaceutical industry from 'getting away with murder'.
President Donald Trump's tweet Monday announcing former pharmaceutical executive Alex Azar as his choice to lead the Department of Health and Human Services boasted that Azar "will be a star for better healthcare and lower drug prices!" The former Georgia congressman resigned September 29 over a scandal involving his use of private aircraft for government business.
Azar said about joining the company.
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.
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.
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Like more than half of Trump's nominees, Azar has professional ties to the industry that he will be expected to regulate. For those opposed to the path Trump has been taking Health and Human Services, Alex Azar symbolizes yet another attack on the progress made by the Affordable Care Act with his policy preferences aimed at undercutting and reversing numerous ACA's provisions.
Congressional Democrats are likely to pounce on Azar's drug ties, reminding Trump of his promise to "drain the swamp" of Washington influence peddling.
Azar's nomination must be approved by the U.S. Senate, which is controlled by Trump's fellow Republicans. He also has experience as a conservative lawyer, serving as a clerk for Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court in the early 1990s after graduating from Yale Law School.
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.