Oct. 18, 2017
If Alex Azar Is Confirmed as HHS Secretary, Big Pharma’s Coup of Health Care Sphere Will Be Virtually Complete
Statement of Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen
Note: Media reports indicate that President Donald Trump is likely to nominate Alex Azar, who served for five years as president of Lilly USA, LLC, the largest affiliate of global biopharmaceutical leader Eli Lilly and Company, to be the next U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Just days after denouncing “out-of-control” drug prices, President Donald Trump appears set to show he doesn’t mean it by naming a former pharmaceutical company executive to run the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. If Alex Azar is nominated and his nomination confirmed, then Big Pharma’s coup d’etat in the health care sphere will be virtually complete.
In his public statements, Alex Azar has made clear that he is opposed to measures to restrain drug company profiteering and limit improper marketing and favors weaker drug safety approval standards.
Americans understand, passionately, that drug company price gouging leads to rationing of care. It is unethical and must end. Even President Trump says so. But it is highly unlikely that a pharmaceutical company executive who has made passionate arguments against price restraints is going to advance real reform. Much more likely is that he serves as the instrument by which Big Pharma aims to defend its monopolies and unaffordable prices.
The swamp only gets worse. Tom Price supported Big Pharma in the U.S. Congress. Now apparently Trump has decided to cut out the middleman, and let a pharmaceutical executive literally run the health department.