Former Pharmaceutical Company Executive Picked to Run HHS

Former Pharmaceutical Company Executive Picked to Run HHS”

Trump tweeted on Monday: "He will be a star for better healthcare and lower drug prices". But for the most part, hospitals and healthcare trade groups came out in support of Alex Azar. He worked at Eli Lilly for 10 years, spending the latter half of his tenure as president of the company's US division, according to The New York Times, where he oversaw men's health, women's health, neuroscience, immunology, cardiology and the Alzheimer's sales teams. "I will vigorously oppose this nomination".

Mr. Azar must now be vetted by the Senate.

Azar is an attorney and a pharmaceutical industry veteran.

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

Azar's grandfather immigrated from Lebanon 100 years ago.

"We know from that work he understands the need to move away from the perverse incentives in the Medicare fee-for-service payment system and to do so in a fashion that incents high-quality care", said Susan DeVore, CEO of Premier.

Chip Kahn, president and CEO of the Federation of American Hospitals, the national advocacy organization for investor-owned hospitals, made similar comments. Kahn called Azar "the flawless pick for the times".

At Eli Lilly, he served as senior vice president for the firm's global communications and government affairs unit. "I don't think it's possible to reform the system unless you truly understand this very complicated system we've created", says Adam Fein, president of Pembroke Consulting. 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. Democrats and other critics are likely to raise questions about the administration's seriousness about lowering drug prices with a former industry executive leading such a charge. He would also help the Trump administration to dismantle Obamacare and crack down on drug prices.

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