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Alex Azar

Trump’s HHS nominee Alex Azar history with drug pricing at Lilly

Azar, then deputy secretary of Health and Human Services, in


  • President Donald Trump has stated that Alex Azar, his
    select for Health and Human Services secretary, will “be a celebrity
    for higher healthcare and decrease drug costs.”
  • Some senators are the usage of Azar’s revel in within the
    pharmaceutical business to argue in a different way.
  • In explicit, Azar used to be a senior govt at Lilly
    right through a time when the cost of insulin incessantly
  • Insulin costs rose three-fold right through the length
    he used to be there, together with when he served as president of the
    corporate, even if the drugs remained the similar.


Alex Azar, the brand new nominee for secretary of the Department of
Health and Human Services, is being pitched as any person who will
assist decrease the cost of prescribed drugs. 

“He will be a star for better healthcare and lower drug prices,”
President Donald Trump stated in a tweet saying Azar as his
select on Monday. Azar is Trump’s selection to exchange Tom
Price, who resigned from the location in September after his use
of personal jets used to be reported to have value taxpayers greater than $1

Trump, who as soon as stated that drugmakers are “getting away with
homicide,” has promised to get emerging drug costs beneath

But Azar’s personal monitor document with drug costs is giving Democrats
fodder to assault the selection. Even although he is already served in
the dep. that he is now being tapped to run, Azar used to be additionally a
senior govt at
Eli Lilly. 

Lilly is one
of 3 firms that experience considerably greater
worth of insulin, the lifesaving drug used to regard
diabetes. Some of the ones will increase got here whilst Azar used to be
president of the corporate’s US unit.

The opposition used to be fast to indicate this out:

Decade of worth hikes

Azar labored as HHS deputy secretary from 2005 to 2007 beneath
President George W. Bush.

In 2007, he joined the drugmaker Eli Lilly as a senior vice
president of company affairs and communications and in the end
changed into president of Lilly USA, consistent with his ConnectedIn
. He left Lilly in January this yr and has
since consulted with pharmaceutical and health-insurance
firms. Lilly didn’t in an instant reply to a request for
touch upon Azar’s time at the corporate. 

Over the 10-year length when Azar used to be at Lilly, the cost of
insulin notched a three-fold build up. It wasn’t simply Lilly’s
insulin product, known as Humalog. The worth of a rival made by way of
Novo Nordisk has additionally climbed, with the 2 emerging in such
lockstep that you’ll slightly see each development traces

The positive factors got here even supposing the insulin, which as a
drugs has an
almost-century-long history
, hasn’t actually modified because it
used to be first licensed.

What Azar may do about drug prices

insulin prices may 2017 v2Andy Kiersz/Business Insider

As secretary of the Department of Health and Human
Services, Azar would oversee fitness
 together with the Food and Drug
Administration, which regulates pharmaceutical firms and
clinical gadgets, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
Services, which pay for prescribed drugs.

It’s most likely that are meant to Azar attempt to do something positive about drug
costs, he may glance at taking motion towards extra than simply
pharmaceutical firms. Instead, he might goal the middlemen
who many drugmakers blame for jacking up costs. Lilly, for
instance, says that that the web
worth for its insulin Humalog
 used to be in fact
down 24% within the third-quarter of 2016, from the third-quarter of
2015 — as a result of the difficult machine of

Azar’s spoken out about this earlier than:

“We’re making an attempt to bring in a golden age of medications with a
fee machine this is in its golden years,” Azar stated at a
Manhattan Institute match in 2016,
Bloomberg reported
. “That machine must be retired and
changed. The handiest means to do this is for each and every personal fitness
care establishment, drug firms, insurers, employers, PBMs,
hospitals, to paintings in combination to create a greater method to pay for


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