Thursday, 23 November, 2017

Trump's New HHS Nominee Is a Former Pharma Executive

Trump Chooses Alex Azar for Health and Human Services Secretary Trump just nominated this Lebanese-American to join his cabinet
Marlene Weaver | 15 November, 2017, 09:51

President Donald Trump on Monday nominated former pharmaceutical executive Alex Azar to lead the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a vacancy left by ousted chief Tom Price.

"In fact, the ACA is working despite President Trump and former HHS Secretary Tom Price's repeated efforts to repeal and sabotage it - open enrollment is off to a strong start, plans remain affordable and every county in the country is covered". Azar served for five years as president of Lilly USA, LLC, the largest affiliate of global biopharmaceutical leader Eli Lilly and Company.

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. "He will be a star for better healthcare and lower drug prices!" The complexity of pharmaceutical pricing has thwarted legislation to lower drug prices.

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.

'Cards Against Humanity' buys borderland to stop Trump's wall
The campaign, named " Cards Against Humanity Saves America", is a six-day campaign of sending "gifts" to anyone who ponies up $15. The first of those surprises will include a map of the vacant plot on the border, some new cards for the game, and other goodies.

Republicans were supportive with Senate health committee head Lamar Alexander of Tennessee describing Azar as a qualified, experienced nominee.

Azar has also said he is against expanding Medicaid reimbursements, which provide insurance to almost 130 million Americans under the Affordable Care Act, saying that he would prefer to use government money through "private-sector vehicles" in order to provide health care.

Trump picked Azar for the HHS chief position above other candidates such as Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services director Seema Verma and FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, according to press reports on the selection process.

Patient advocacy organization Public Citizen said Azar has made it clear he is opposed to measures "to restrain prescription companies' profiteering and limit improper marketing" and that he favors weaker safety approval standards. He served as the HHS deputy secretary under President George W. Bush.

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