November 13, 2017 – President Donald Trump today has nominated Alex Azar to be the next U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). Azar served for five years as president of Lilly USA, LLC, the largest affiliate of global biopharmaceutical leader Eli Lilly and Company.
Just weeks after denouncing “out-of-control” prescription prices, President Donald Trump shows he doesn’t mean it by nominating a former pharmaceutical company executive to run the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. If Alex Azar’s nomination is confirmed, then Big Pharma’s coup d’etat in the health care sphere will be virtually complete.
In his public statements, Alex Azar has made clear that he is opposed to measures to restrain prescription companies’ profiteering and limit improper marketing, while favoring weaker safety approval standards.
Americans understand, passionately, that price gouging leads to rationing of care. It is unethical and must end. Even President Trump says so. But it is highly unlikely that a pharmaceutical company executive who has made passionate arguments against price restraints is going to advance real reform. Much more likely is that he serves as the instrument by which Big Pharma aims to defend its monopolies and unaffordable prices.
The swamp only gets worse. Tom Price supported Big Pharma in the U.S. Congress. Now apparently Trump has decided to cut out the middleman and let a pharmaceutical executive literally run the federal department that protects the health of all Americans.
-Robert Weissman, president, Public Citizen
As Tweeter-in-Chief, Trump tells us Azar will be a ‘star’ who will lower prescription prices. Maybe he should have asked the six million diabetic Americans whose insulin prices have more than tripled under Azar’s watch at Eli Lilly. Eli Lilly is notorious for spiking prices of this century-old isolated hormone. During Azar’s tenure as president and vice president, Eli Lilly raised the price of Humalog by 345 percent from $2,657.88 per year to $9,172.80 per year.
-Peter Maybarduk, director, Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines Program