Trump nominates former pharma exec Alex Azar as health secretary

ASSOCIATED PRESS

ASSOCIATED PRESS

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 and medicine, or top executive branch managers - not industries regulated by the department.

President Donald Trump is nominating former pharmaceutical and government executive Alex Azar to be his second secretary of health and human services.

Azar II, served as a deputy at the department under former President George W. Bush.

Azar, 50, had until last January served as president of the American arm of drug giant Eli Lilly and Company.

Trump made the announcement on Twitter, saying Azar "will be a star for better healthcare and lower drug prices".

'Happy to announce, I am nominating Alex Azar to be the next Secretary, ' Trump tweeted Monday from the Philippines. The drugmaker has drawn criticism from patient advocacy groups for price increases to one of its biggest products: insulin.

"The Trump administration's track record on health care to date is objectively abysmal", said Sen. In meetings with industry executives, however, Trump has focused on speeding up drug approvals, a cost-reducing tactic they would back.

In making the pick, Trump turned to an industry's he's rebuked.

If confirmed, Azar would be tasked with attempting to roll back drug prices and overseeing Medicare and Medicaid programs, and implementing the controversial Affordable Care Act- legislation that Trump has promised to repeal while on the campaign trail but has been unsuccessful since he took office after Congress repeatedly failed to pass a series of repeal-and-replace bills.

The nomination comes two months after former HHS Secretary Tom Price resigned due to a private plane scandal.

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