Donald Trump took to Twitter to announce his nomination of Alex Azar for secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Azar is the former president of pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly. According to a story in the New York Times, Eli Lilly was named in a lawsuit with two other pharmaceutical companies, Sanofi and Novo Nordisk, which accused them of conspiring to raise prices on lifesaving drugs. Azar left Eli Lilly earlier this year.
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 13, 2017
Due to Azar's obvious connection to the pharmaceutical industry, many are questioning Trump's decision. For a man who ran his campaign with the motto, "Drain the swamp," Trump seems to be doing exactly the opposite by filling his administration with business insiders and lobbyists.
At a time when the United States pays, by far, the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs, the last thing we need is to put a pharmaceutical executive in charge of the Department of Health and Human Services. The nomination of Alex Azar, the former head of Eli Lilly’s U.S. operations, shows that Trump was never serious about his promise to stop the pharmaceutical industry from ‘getting away with murder.’
During Mr. Azar’s tenure at Eli Lilly, this multi-billion-dollar corporation dodged taxes while charging Americans outrageously high prices for life-saving prescription drugs. We need an HHS secretary who is willing to take on the greed of the pharmaceutical industry and lower prescription drug prices, not one who has financially benefited from this greed. I will vigorously oppose this nomination.
I think I'd feel better about his ability to do that if he didn't spend a lot if his career in the pharmaceutical industry. But that's just me.— Kathy Radigan (@KathyRadigan) November 13, 2017
A former Big Pharma executive for HHS secretary. You don't know what "draining the swamp" really means, do you?— Bekah (@rebekahkfreitas) November 13, 2017
No he won’t. He’ll gouge sick people, in an effort to boost profits for drug companies.— Elizabeth Rydan (@elizabeth_rydan) November 13, 2017
He is a pharma profiteer. In the current political environment you continue to make foolish choices. I am not complaining, it has been your undoing to this point, so... Carry on I guess!— Phil T Miller (@philtmiller) November 13, 2017
I wonder if Alex Azar will use his position as the head of the Department of Health and Human Services to advance the financial goals of Eli Lilly and Company.— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) November 13, 2017
We have Goldman Sachs banker Steve Mnuchin running the Department of the Treasury and now this biopharmaceutical guy running the Health Department.— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) November 13, 2017
Instead of draining the swamp, Trump is turning America into one large game of Monopoly. Except the only one paying the rent is the middle class.— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) November 13, 2017
Americans overwhelmingly want universal, affordable health care. We don't want Big Pharma and Big Banks taking complete advantage of the American people while we die in the streets to make them rich.— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) November 13, 2017
Unfortunately, Trump will never see Dr. Gu's tweets. He's blocked him on Twitter.