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Trump Nominates Former Drug Company Executive As HHS Chief


President Donald Trump announced Monday he is nominating former pharmaceutical company executive Alex Azar as secretary of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department.

Azar, a prominent Obamacare critic, previously served as president of Lilly USA, LLC, the largest affiliate of global biopharmaceutical leader Eli Lilly (LLY).

"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 post on Twitter.

If confirmed, Azar would replace former Congressman Tom Price, R-Ga., who resigned in late September amid criticism of his use of private charters and military aircraft for travel.

Responding to Trump's tweet, Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., called the administration's track record on healthcare "objectively abysmal."

"Trump's previous leader at HHS, Tom Price, abused the public trust on multiple occasions, led efforts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act, and enabled congressional Republicans' disastrous attempts to pass Trumpcare," Wyden said.

He added, "I will closely scrutinize Mr. Azar's record and ask for his commitment to faithfully implement the Affordable Care Act and take decisive, meaningful action to curtail the runaway train of prescription drug costs. Health care is too personal to be driven by politics, but that is what the leadership of HHS has offered so far."

Meanwhile, Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said Azar has the qualifications and experience to get results and said his committee will promptly schedule a hearing on his nomination.

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