Meet Lebanese-origin Alex Azar, Trump's pick for health secretary


Even President Trump says so.

Azar served several years on the board of directors of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, a drug industry lobbying group, and earlier was general counsel and deputy secretary for Health and Human Services under former Republican President George W. Bush.

Azar previously served as a high-ranking executive at Eli Lilly, which has repeatedly raised the prices of its drugs, doubling the US list price of its top-selling insulin over the 5 years he served as a company president.

"Happy to announce, I am nominating Alex Azar to be the next HHS Secretary". But so far, critics contend the Trump Administration's actions and proposals have only favored the industry. Azar has also been outspoken about the need to lower drug prices. Still, drug pricing talk hasn't gotten serious in Congress and four Congressmen wrote to the president last month to say his "inaction" on their Medicare negotiation proposal has left them with no option other than to press ahead alone. For those opposed to the path Trump has been taking Health and Human Services, Alex Azar symbolizes yet another attack on the progress made by the Affordable Care Act with his policy preferences aimed at undercutting and reversing numerous ACA's provisions.

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Reacting to Azar's selection, Senate Finance Committee ranking member Sen.

In February, Azar founded a consulting agency that specialized in biopharmaceutical and healthcare companies, his LinkedIn page said.

Azar's nomination for HHS Secretary follows the ascendance of Seema Verma, who now leads the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, and former State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams, who became Surgeon General this summer.

Azar has argued against drug price controls in the past, Weissman said at the time, making it "highly unlikely" he would "advance real reform" on the issue.