FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 24, 2018
Contact: Dylan Dusseault
Business Initiative for Health Policy Condemns Alex Azar’s Confirmation as HHS Secretary
“By nominating Alex Azar, Donald Trump is breaking his campaign promise. By confirming him, the Senate is failing their constituents who desperately need affordable prescription drugs.”
Washington, DC – While running what he claimed was a populist campaign, President Trump promised to help get drug prices under control. The United States is paying twice as much as the average developed country for pharmaceuticals. Many insurance companies are simultaneously running “Pharmacy Benefit Mangers”, which take kickbacks from Pharmaceutical Companies and keep drug prices high, and Medicare is forbidden from negotiating drug prices by provisions written into Part D.
Instead of keeping his promise to fix any of these problems, the President decided to nominate Alex Azar, the former President of Lilly USA. During his tenor, Lilly raised the prices of lifesaving drugs like Insulin, spent $5.7 million on lobbying in 2016 alone, and Azar spoke out against common sense solutions that would have helped bring down drug prices, and even encouraged the administration to pressure the European Union to raise their prices. The same Congress he lobbied so hard to keep his company profitable, has just voted to confirm him to run the agency in charge of controlling drug prices.
Richard Master, Founder of BIHP and CEO of MCS Industries, asked:
“How does this appointment make any sense? It’s a clear case of hiring a favored industry fox to guard sick Americans in the hen house. 80% of Americans are expressing serious concerns about runaway prices for prescription medications, and this confirmation is an outrage.”
While Morris Pearl, Member of BIHP and Chairman of the Patriotic Millionaires added:
“There are people who believe that the job of the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services is to ensure that health care and services are available to all people in our country. There are others who believe that the position should ensure pharmaceutical companies keep record high profits. As a consequence of the 2016 election, we have been saddled with a HHS Secretary who believes the latter.”
Dr. Gerald Friedman, an Economics professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and an advisor to BIHP, said:
“Alex Azar has enriched himself and his friends by pricing insulin and other life-saving drugs beyond the ability of needy people to pay. His Senate confirmation is an outrageous affront to the American people”
Gabriel Levitt, the Founder of Prescription Justice and advisor to BIHP, who has spent his career researching and studying ways to bring down our drug prices, had plenty to say:
“As we heard during the nomination hearings in Congress, Alex Azar does not support key policies, such as allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices and importing lower-cost FDA-approved medications, that will really tackle the crisis of high drug prices.”
By nominating Azar, Donald Trump is breaking his campaign promise. By confirming him, the Senate is failing their constituents who desperately need affordable prescription drugs. 45 million Americans have reported that they are not filling their prescriptions due to costs. Americans over 55 are five times less likely to fill prescriptions that patients in the United Kingdom and 10 times less likely than patients in France. This is nothing short of a health crisis, that is only likely to get worse under our newly confirmed HHS Secretary.
About the Business Initiative for Health Policy
The Business Initiative for Health Policy (BIHP) is a public education and advocacy campaign led by CEO’s, presidents, and other business executives and advised by health care industry insiders and health policy experts. The goal of the Business Initiative is to advance health policy solutions that 1) ensure the on-going competitiveness of American business, 2) enhance economic growth and 3) provide full coverage for American citizens. Members of the Business Initiative for Health Policy believe that a healthy citizenry is a prerequisite to a stable and prosperous nation, and that the current structure of the health care and health care insurance industries is damaging American businesses and the economy.