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Alex Azar at HHS: "Big Pharma's Coup"

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Deputy Secretary Alex M. Azar and Ireland's former Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney

Alex Azar is the latest Hoosier headed to Washington for a post in the federal health sector.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday said he has chosen former pharmaceutical company executive Alex Azar to serve as U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary and vowed to lower the price of medicines. After leaving Lilly as part of an executive shakeup earlier this year, Azar formed a consultancy as he explored "new leadership opportunities", according to an online speaker profile. He served as deputy secretary of HHS under former President George W. Bush and has been considered a frontrunner for the secretary position since mid-October.

Gottlieb's name was one floated for the HHS chief position after former secretary Tom Price resigned in September, but the FDA commissioner said in a Reuters interview he felt he is "most effective" at the drug agency.

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U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly says he looks forward to meeting with Azar to ask how he would approach the role. If Alex Azar's nomination is confirmed, then Big Pharma's coup d'etat in the health care sphere will be virtually complete.

Azar has been critical of the Affordable Care Act and has said he supports healthcare block grants to states - an idea pushed by the Trump administration and many Republican governors, including Indiana's Gov. Eric Holcomb.

"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".

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