Alex Azar Nominated as HHS Secretary

The nation's 45th president just tweeted that he has nominated Alex Azar as the next secretary of Health and Human Services. Azar also worked in HHS during President George W. Bush's administration, serving as HHS's general counsel from 2001 and 2005 and becoming deputy secretary until 2008.

Grealy cited initiatives Azar undertook with insurance companies while at Lilly to shift to reimburse drug firms based on the quality of their products.

But who is Azar and what are his qualifications? Now he would have to scrupulously avoid conflicts with Lilly's far-reaching interests, from drug approval to Medicare reimbursement.

Prior to his downfall, Price was once touted by the home health care industry as a strong advocate for in-home care.

"It would be unrealistic to expect a reformer from Trump, but a professional apologist for this abusive industry is an insult to us all".

"'The drug companies, frankly, are getting away with murder, and we want to bring our prices down to what other countries are paying, or at least close and let the other countries pay more", the president told reporters gathered in the Cabinet Room, ' Trump said then. Prices are "out of control".

At the time, Trump said he was "not happy" about Price's use of charter flights and said he would "look into it".

Professionally, Azar has another set of skills that may be valuable to the president.

Azar previously worked at the department as deputy secretary under President George W. Bush before joining the pharmaceutical industry. "There are still changes that can be made to make it work a little better than it has been". His nomination will need to clear the committee before it heads to the full senate, where confirmation will require a simple majority vote.

Admirers say Azar's drug industry experience should be considered an asset, not a liability. Once in office, Gottlieb pushed efforts to lower drug prices by reworking FDA drug reviews to increase competition.

Tom Price resigned as HHS secretary in September after about seven months in the post, after facing sharp criticism for his use of taxpayer-funded private travel.

Vanessa Coleman

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