On Jan. 24, President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Alex Azar, was confirmed by a 55-43 vote in the U.S. Senate.

Azar is an HHS veteran who served during the George W. Bush administration. His appointment as secretary of HHS will end a decade-long career at American pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, where he served as a senior director.

His background in pharmaceuticals was a point of contention for many Senate Democrats. In contrast, Republicans, including Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, considered the whole of Azar’s professional career to be an asset for the Department.

Said Alexander at a November hearing on Azar’s nomination, “I’m excited about the fact that you know something about this. Drug pricing is byzantine.”

Azar will assume the position vacated by Tom Price, who resigned his position in September 2017 due to his misuse of public funds for booking chartered flights.

For further discussion, please contact AASM advocacy staff by phone at (630) 737-9700 or by email at policy@aasm.org.