Trump nominates former pharma exec Azar for head of HHS

President Trump announced that he will nominate Alex Azar as his Health and Human Services secretary, replacing Tom Price who was forced to resign in September amid a scandal over travel expenses.

Price's tenure in the Trump administration lasted less than eight months.

Before his stint at Eli Lilly, Azar served as general counsel and deputy secretary for HHS under President George W. Bush. Since his departure from the Bush administration, Azar worked for pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly for 10 years, eventually rising to president of its key USA affiliate before leaving in January to start his own consulting firm.

"He will be a star for better healthcare and lower drug prices", Mr Trump said in a post on Twitter. He also formed a health care strategic consulting firm called Seraphim Strategies. Politico reported the total cost of the flights was over $1 million.

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The Azar nomination is unusual because HHS secretaries have tended to come from the ranks of elected officials such as governors - not industries regulated by the department.

Azar has served on the board of directors of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, a drug industry lobby, for several years, and his nomination would raise questions about the administration's seriousness about lowering drug prices.

Trump has said that drug prices are " out of control" and that drug companies are "getting away with murder". He will be a star for better healthcare and lower drug prices!

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