Trump's Pick for HHS Secretary is Former Pharma Executive Alex Azar

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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. More recently, Azar served in many roles with Eli Lilly and Company, an worldwide pharmaceutical company, where as President of Lilly USA, he oversaw the substantial rise in drug prices while simultaneously serving on the board for the world's largest pharmaceutical lobby, Biotechnology Innovation Organization.

A graduate of Yale Law School and Dartmouth College, Azar's story is the epitome of the American dream according to his father, Dr. Alex Azar.

"The expertise garnered from his career in the private sector and prior public service at HHS as Deputy Secretary will prove to be particularly valuable in addressing the serious challenges facing our nation's healthcare system today", Pollack said.

Azar also drew praise from PhRMA, the largest pharmaceutical industry trade group and America's Health Insurance Plans, the key lobbyist for the insurer industry.

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AHA CEO Rick Pollack said he is confident that Azar's experience in business, healthcare and medicine makes him a good pick.

As HHS Secretary, Azar will be leading the Administration's efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and, among other things, address drug pricing and reimbursement.

Trump, who is in the Philippines on a diplomatic trip, announced his intention to nominate Azar on Twitter by saying he would "be a star for better healthcare and lower drug prices". "If he wants to take meaningful action to lower drug prices, we want to help him".

Azar is an attorney and a pharmaceutical industry veteran.

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But Sanders was skeptical that Azar is the right choice for the top HHS post, especially as the United States aims to lower skyrocketing prescription drug prices.

"Instead of throwing more money and more beneficiaries into state-run, single-payer programs, we've demonstrated that it works to use the government money through private-sector vehicles", said Azar said in an interview with the Zetema Project in February.

"It's time to turn over a new leaf at HHS", Schumer said.

Republicans were supportive with Senate health committee head Lamar Alexander of Tennessee describing Azar as a qualified, experienced nominee.

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Azar's nomination must be approved by the U.S. Senate, which is controlled by Trump's fellow Republicans.

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