Trump names former drug exec as new health secretary

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump has picked a former top pharmaceutical and government executive to be his Health and Human Services secretary.

If confirmed by the Senate, Alex Azar will oversee a $1-trillion department responsible for major health insurance programs, medical research, food and drug safety, and public health.

In making the pick, Trump turned to an industry’s he’s rebuked.

The Azar nomination is unusual because HHS secretaries have tended to come from the ranks of elected officials such as governors – not industries regulated by the department.

Azar, 50, a lawyer by training, has spent the last 10 years with pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, rising to president of its key U.S. affiliate before leaving in January to start his own consulting firm. He’s seen as an expert on government health care regulation.

 

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