Trump picks pharmaceutical exec as new US health secretary

November 13, 2017

US President Donald Trump, who harshly criticized pharmaceutical firms during his campaign, said Monday he has chosen an executive from the industry to be his new secretary of health.

"Happy to announce, I am nominating Alex Azar to be the next HHS Secretary. He will be a star for better healthcare and lower drug prices!" Trump said in a tweet.

Azar worked for a decade at Eli Lilly and Company and most recently headed the pharmaceutical giant's US operations.

He left in January 2017 and formed strategic consulting firm Seraphim Strategies, according to Azar's LinkedIn profile.

Azar also has high-level experience in the department he is being asked to head. He served as deputy of the Department of Health and Human Services from 2005 to 2007 during the George W. Bush administration, and as its general counsel for the four years prior.

The nomination comes six weeks after Tom Price resigned as amid a scandal over his taxpayer-funded travel.

That departure left a hole in the Trump administration as it grappled with addressing a deadly opioid epidemic, and as Trump's Republicans failed to repeal and replace former president Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump routinely assailed big pharma companies. In January, shortly before his inauguration, the then-president-elect said companies in the drug industry were "getting away with murder" and that bidding procedures were inadequate.

Explore further: First lady listens and learns about opioid crisis (Update)

Related Stories

First lady listens and learns about opioid crisis (Update)

September 28, 2017
Melania Trump is listening and learning about the nation's opioid epidemic.

Trump doesn't rule out 'amended' Obamacare: WSJ

November 11, 2016
US President-elect Donald Trump has said he will consider an "amended" version of Barack Obama's signature health care law—a sign of a shift in position after repeatedly vowing on the campaign trail that he would repeal ...

Trump rolls back Obamacare provision for free birth control

October 7, 2017
US President Donald Trump's administration annulled on Friday an Obamacare provision that obliged employer health plans to pay for contraception, potentially stripping free birth control from millions of women.

US senators reach bipartisan deal on Obamacare

October 18, 2017
US senators announced Tuesday they had reached a bipartisan deal to continue a program that helps low-income Americans purchase health insurance, days after President Donald Trump cut such subsidies.

Obamacare critic confirmed as US health secretary

February 10, 2017
The US Senate narrowly confirmed Tom Price as President Donald Trump's pick for health secretary Friday, appointing a fierce Obamacare critic who aims to implement a Republican promise to tear up the divisive health care ...

Recommended for you

Study shows magnesium optimizes vitamin D status

December 14, 2018
A randomized trial by Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center researchers indicates that magnesium optimizes vitamin D status, raising it in people with deficient levels and lowering it in people with high levels.

A co-worker's rudeness can affect your sleep—and your partner's, study finds

December 14, 2018
Rudeness. Sarcastic comments. Demeaning language. Interrupting or talking over someone in a meeting. Workplace incivilities such as these are becoming increasingly common, and a new study from Portland State University and ...

A holiday gift to primary care doctors: Proof of their time crunch

December 14, 2018
The average primary care doctor needs to work six more hours a day than they already do, in order to make sure their patients get all the preventive and early-detection care they want and deserve, a new study finds.

Teens get more sleep with later school start time, researchers find

December 12, 2018
When Seattle Public Schools announced that it would reorganize school start times across the district for the fall of 2016, the massive undertaking took more than a year to deploy. Elementary schools started earlier, while ...

Large restaurant portions a global problem, study finds

December 12, 2018
A new multi-country study finds that large, high-calorie portion sizes in fast food and full service restaurants is not a problem unique to the United States. An international team of researchers found that 94 percent of ...

Receiving genetic information can change risk

December 11, 2018
Millions of people in the United States alone have submitted their DNA for analysis and received information that not only predicts their risk for disease but, it turns out, in some cases might also have influenced that risk, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.