On Monday, President Trump nominated Alex Azar to be Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.
If confirmed, Azar would fill the post vacated by Tom Price, MD, in the wake of a scandal concerning alleged usage of taxpayer money to charter private jets.
Whereas Dr. Price was a physician, Azar’s health care knowledge comes from his law background. Mr. Azar also served as the US Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services. For the past decade he has worked for Eli Lilly, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical corporations. From 2012 until he stepped down in January 2017, Azar was president of Lilly USA, the company’s United States operating arm.
Mr. Azar has been critical of the Affordable Care Act, calling it a “fundamentally broken system” according to the The New York Times. And some have criticized his nomination, especially in light of President Trump’s promises to lower prescription drug costs. But Mike Leavitt, former secretary of HHS and Azar’s boss under the Bush administration, says that detractors should not be worried.
To solve the problems within the pharmaceutical industry, you have to understand the way the distribution system works. Alex understands that as well as any person in the country.
Leavitt further pushed aside possible conflicts when asked what would happen if Mr. Azar was confirmed for the position.
Alex doesn’t work for the drug industry — he works for the president of the United States.