WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the U.S. Senate confirmed Xavier Becerra as secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, released the following statement:
“During this critical moment in a global pandemic that has already killed 540,000 Americans and more than 2.5 million worldwide, HHS needs strong leadership that takes this pandemic seriously and prioritizes health and safety over corporate profits. Becerra’s experience has made it clear that he is an advocate for public health and not an instrument of corporate health interests.
“After four years of the Trump administration focusing on Big Pharma and insurers’ interests, the Biden administration needs to fix a broken system that allows corporations to profiteer off the health and sickness of Americans. There is a lot to do – from improving nursing home care to ensuring medicine affordability, from expanding access to health care to closing racial health inequities, from tackling the opioid addiction epidemic to sharing technology to ending the global pandemic. The integrity of HHS itself and subagencies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must be restored.
“Becerra is the right leader for the department at this critical moment. As California’s attorney general, Becerra’s leadership in holding Big Pharma accountable for monopoly abuses and high drug prices and his defense of the ACA from dismantlement signals a drastic and much needed shift for the department.”