Trump’s HHS pick and choose was pharma insider seeing as drug prices skyrocketed

(CNN) President Trump is nominating former Deputy Secretary and Eli Lilly President Alex Azar as innovative head of the Division of Health and Human Solutions, tweeting that he’ll be considered a “star for better healthcare and lower medicine prices.”

Happy to announce, We am nominating Alex Azar to be another HHS Secretary. He’ll be considered a star for better health care and lower drug prices!

The key position has been open since past due September, when former Secretary Tom Price resigned amid reports of frequent trips across the country in private planes payed for with taxpayer dollars.

Trump has stressed cracking down on rising medicine costs, at one level accusing pharmaceutical corporations of “buying away with murder.” Nevertheless, the choice of a guy who helped lead the industry for a decade prompted Democrats and market observers to question how effective — or dedicated — he’ll end up being to the President’s agenda.

“We sincerely anticipation that Secretary-nominee Azar will follow through on the President’s commitment to attain lower drug prices for all People in america,” the nonprofit Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing said in a affirmation.

“Given Alex Azar’s specialist background, there are worries on whether he may fairly execute any significant effort to lower drug prices for patients & families,” tweeted Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, the top Democrat on the Senate Wellbeing, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

A decade in Big Pharma

Azar, who still left his position as president of Lilly USA found in January after an internal shakeup, started with the pharmaceutical giant in 2007 as senior vice president of communications, upgrading to vice president of Lilly’s U.S. Managed Healthcare Solutions and Puerto Rico in ’09 2009 before turning into president in 2012.

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During his tenure by the pharmaceutical giant, Azar says, Lilly gone off the “largest patent cliff in pharmaceutical record” where it misplaced “$4 billion of earnings as it misplaced patent exclusivity, laid off a large percent of its firm and reorganized repeatedly,” in line with the description of 1 of his presentations intended for the Worldwide Audio speakers Group.

It’s also an era of exorbitant price increases by Lilly and big pharmaceuticals. A written report this year by Credit rating Suisse showed that the market added $8.7 billion in 2016 from rocketing medicine prices; Sean Williams , an investor at financial services business Motley Fool, shown Lilly as one of the practice’s major benefactors.

“Eli Lilly has already established little choice but to carefully turn to price increases on a few of its established therapies, in addition to its specialty indications,” Williams said.

Citing data by Bernstein Research, CNBC recently said that the prices of Lilly’s insulin drugs Humalog and Humulin N rose 20.81% in 2014 and 16.96% in 2015, under Azar’s watch.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, offers accused Lilly — along with Novo Nordisk and Sanofi, which also sell insulin items — of collusion to operate a vehicle up insulin prices.

‘The cost of insulin more than tripled between 2002 and 2013, from $231 to $736 each year per patient,” Sanders wrote on his website in a call-out to the general public for their stories on how they cope with the rising cost of the medicine. The pharmaceutical corporations deny the allegations of collusion; Sanders is contacting for a federal government investigation.

In March, a class-action federal government lawsuit was filed on behalf of 38 individuals against Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi, citing violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Action, among others.

Staunch conservative

An economist and lawyer by training, Azar clerked for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in the first 1990s and later on worked less than Kenneth Starr, the independent counsel found on the Clinton Whitewater investigation.

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Azar also served from 2001 to 2007 as Health and Human Services standard counsel and deputy secretary for President George W. Bush, composing on a Yale Rules School alumni webpage that he “wrestled with the problem” of taking the work because he had not focused on health care in his job. But, he explained, he rapidly learned that he had found his calling: “to help people all over the world live longer, healthier and happier lives.”

If confirmed just as Health and Human Solutions secretary, Azar could have broad authority above a lot of the Affordable Treatment Act, possible he appeared to embrace during an interview with Bloomberg Television set in June

“I’m not one to state many good things about Obamacare, but one of the nice things in it really is, it does give a boat load authority to the secretary of HHS,” Azar said. “There are still changes which can be built to make it happen a little much better than it’s been.”

Reaction to the nomination on Capitol Hill was first predictably split along party lines.

Alex Azar can be an experienced and highly capable innovator who knows what must be done to tackle big problems in health care. The Senate should swiftly confirm him as our up coming @HHSGov secretary. – Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) November 13, 2017

“For too much time, hardworking, middle-class families have been forced to bear the brunt of Obamacare’s failures,” explained Sen. Orrin Hatch , the Republican chairman for the Senate Finance Committee, which will review Azar’s nomination.

“The leader of HHS will be at the end of the spear, working to not only correct the wrongs of this deeply flawed law but also ensure the long-term sustainability of both Medicare and Medicaid,” Hatch added in his affirmation. “Mr. Azar has the experience, expertise and fortitude to take on these daunting challenges.”

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, the position Democrat on the Finance Committee, tweeted , “Health care is as well personal to be influenced by politics. I’ll be asking tough inquiries. I will carefully scrutinize Mr. Azar’s record and ask for his commitment to faithfully put into practice the Affordable Care Action and consider decisive, meaningful action to curtail the runaway train of prescription medicine costs.”

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