Trump taps ex-pharma executive Azar as United States health secretary

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On the other side of the nomination, lawmakers critical of Pres. Trump's choice called Azar's ability to effectively and impartially run HHS given his long-term work as a pharmaceuticals executive.

"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".

Please adhere to our commenting policy to avoid being banned. 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. Interestingly, a day after the previous HHS Secretary, Tom Price, resigned, Alex Azar exercised an insider option to purchase shares in HMS Holdings, bringing his publicly known total of shares in the company to over 17,000 with a current market value over $255,000 in a company with a market cap of over $1.3 billion.

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.

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According to The Independent, Trump, who has a history of making industry-friendly nominations, tweeted about Azar: "He will be a star for better healthcare and lower drug prices!" He was also HHS general counsel in former President George W. Bush's administration from 2001 to 2005. "I'm confident that he would like to see the way the law works change". Investigations into Price's actions are ongoing.

"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.

"I will carefully review Mr. Azar's nomination for this critically important position", said Donnelly in a statement.