5 things to know about Alex Azar, Trump's pick for HHS secretary

Who Is The Former Pharma Exec Trump Nominated To Lead HHS

Cummings and Senator Bernie Sanders, a 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, a year ago 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. But for the most part, hospitals and healthcare trade groups came out in support of Alex Azar.

"We need an HHS secretary who is willing to take on the greed of the pharmaceutical industry and lower prescription drug prices", he said, "not one who has financially benefited from this greed". More recently, Azar served in many roles with Eli Lilly and Company, an global 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. It will be interesting to see if Azar attempts to unravel his personal holdings prior to confirmation hearings, or go the route that Trump and many of his other Cabinet picks have and just ignore the norm of divestiture for public service. Previously, he was president of Lilly USA, an affiliate of Eli Lilly, from January 2012 to January 2017.

Mr. Azar must now be vetted by the Senate.

Dr. Azar's father immigrated to the US from Lebanon about 100 years ago, now his grandson is serving in the nation's cabinet.

Azar is an attorney and a pharmaceutical industry veteran. "This is someone who understands the complex system we've built-and the warped channel incentives baked into the system". With the Alex Azar pick, Donald Trump is choosing someone with experience in both the industry in general and the agency in particular he is meant to lead.

When he worked with HLC, Grealy said that during deliberations, he was a strong and influential voice for health system transformation to achieve greater value as defined by affordability and consistent clinical quality without disparities.

As HHS Secretary, Azar will be leading the Administration's efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and, among other things, address drug pricing and reimbursement. "If he wants to take meaningful action to lower drug prices, we want to help him".

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