Azar previously served as a high-ranking executive at Eli Lilly, which has repeatedly raised the prices of its drugs, doubling the USA list price of its top-selling insulin over the 5 years he served as a company president.
Trump tweeted on Monday: "He will be a star for better healthcare and lower drug prices". Over the course of the past year, HHS has dramatically cut outreach and advertising funding for open enrollment under Obamacare, and President Trump ended cost-sharing subsidies to help fund insurance for low-income individuals.
He also served several years on the board of directors of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, a drug industry lobbying group, and earlier was general counsel and deputy secretary for Health and Human Services under former Republican President George W. Bush.
Patient advocacy organization Public Citizen said Azar has made it clear he is opposed to measures "to restrain prescription companies' profiteering and limit improper marketing" and that he favors weaker safety approval standards.
Azar, though a spokesman, declined to comment.
Currently, Azar is the chairman and founder of Seraphim Strategies, which provides strategic consulting and counsel on biopharmaceutical and health insurance industries.
Azar would be in charge of regulatory matters concerning the industry he helped thrive for more than a decade. "Obamacare plans are following the laws of economics".
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"There's actually fairly few levers that the government can do at this point to stabilize this broken system", said Azar.
But Sanders was skeptical that Azar is the right choice for the top HHS post, especially as the United States aims to lower skyrocketing prescription drug prices.
"For as long as I have known and worked with him, he has always steadfastly believed in putting the patient first, and I have no doubt that is the commitment he will bring to HHS", she said.
Republicans were supportive with Senate health committee head Lamar Alexander of Tennessee describing Azar as a qualified, experienced nominee. "The Senate health committee will promptly schedule a hearing on his nomination".
"Congratulations to Alex Azar on his nomination to serve as Secretary of Health and Human Services".
New York Democrat and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer took to Twitter and wrote "it's time to turn over a new leaf at HHS".
Azar's nomination must be approved by the U.S. Senate, which is controlled by Trump's fellow Republicans.
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