By Carolyn Y. Johnson | Washington Post

President Donald Trump’s pick for health secretary previously served as a high-ranking executive at a pharmaceutical company that repeatedly hiked the prices of its drugs, doubling the U.S. list price of its top-selling insulin over the five years he served as a company president.

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Trump endorsed Alex Azar, a previous Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services under President George W. Bush and pharmaceutical executive at diabetes pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, as “a star for better healthcare and lower drug prices” on Twitter.

Supporters said that Azar’s understanding of the complicated dynamics behind pharmaceutical pricing would give him an advantage in figuring out how to make drugs more affordable. Critics, however, noted that Azar’s tenure at Lilly coincided with massive list price increases on insulin and made him particularly ill-suited to lower drug prices.

While Azar led Eli Lilly’s largest affiliate, Lilly USA, the U.S. list price of Humalog insulin more than doubled, from $123 per vial in Jan. 2012 to $255 per vial when he left the company in early 2017, according to data from Truven Health Analytics. Lilly, along with other insulin makers, was hit by a class action lawsuit alleging overpricing of insulin earlier this year.

“Alex had a successful career at Lilly, and we wish him the best in his future work,” Lilly spokesman Greg Kueterman said in an email.

Azar joined Lilly in …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Health

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