Azar Nominated For HHS Secretary


President Trump on Monday morning announced via Twitter that he'll nominate Alex Azar to be Health and Human Services secretary, replacing Tom Price, who was forced to resign in September after revelations that he took multiple trips on government and private jets at taxpayer expense.

The nomination of Alex Azar is unusual because HHS secretaries have tended to come from the ranks of elected officials such as governors, leaders in academia, or top executive branch managers - not industries regulated by the department. He was also HHS general counsel in former President George W. Bush's administration from 2001 to 2005.

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!" In the past, he has advocated for lower prescription drug prices and voiced support for the transition from paper-based records to EHRs. "I will vigorously oppose this nomination".

Azar still faces confirmation hearings before he is approved, but with Republicans in control of the House and Senate, it's unlikely there will be much holdup.

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The HHS is responsible for advising the President on matters of health, welfare, and income security programmes.

Azar was a member of the Healthcare Leadership Council when he was president of Lilly USA, and he served on the organization's executive committee. Earlier this year, he founded a biopharmaceutical and health care consulting business.

Cummings and Senator Bernie Sanders, a 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, previous year called for a federal probe into whether Eli Lilly, Sanofi SA (SASY.PA), Merck & Co Inc (MRK.N) and Novo Nordisk A/S (NOVOb.CO) colluded to set prices on insulin and other diabetes drugs. "It's time to turn over a new leaf at HHS", he said in a statement.

"Mr. Azar, a drug industry lobbyist, has been a harsh critic of the ACA and has gone so far as to say that the law is 'circling the drain' despite evidence to the contrary".