He Raised Drug Prices at Eli Lilly. Can He Lower Them for the U.S.?

Robert Pear// PC: Evan Vucci// The New York Times

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Alex M. Azar II, President Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, has expressed concern about the soaring cost of prescription drugs for many consumers. Work on Medicare was a formative experience for Mr. Azar, and he cites the drug benefit- delivered entirely by private companies under contract with the government- as a model. In 2007, Mr. Azar joined Lilly, a company with a portfolio including Cialis, Forteo, Zyprexa, insulin and other products for the treatment of diabetes. The Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota stated that the insulin price tripled in the last decade and putting a former pharmaceutical company executive in charge of health care policy for the country isn’t a good idea when you want to bring down drug prices. Drug companies kept saying that high prices are not a concern because they provide big discounts and rebates on many products. But Azar acknowledged a problem and said patients are paying out of pocket too much money. He echoed Mr. Trump’s criticism of the Affordable Care Act, and maintained that the expansion of Medicaid under the law has not been successful.

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