Trump picks former pharma exec, ex-Bush official to lead HHS department

Alex Azar former Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Trump picks Alex Azar to lead the Health and Human Services Department

President Donald Trump announced Monday morning that he is tapping former Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar to replace Tom Price as as head of the organization.

Photo Alex Azar, then deputy Health and Human Services secretary, in June 2006.

In tweeting the announcement, Trump called Azar a "star for better healthcare and lower drug prices".

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He has worked closely with Eric Hargan, who was recently confirmed as Trump's deputy HHS secretary and has been acting secretary since Price's September 29 departure.

The nomination comes two months after former HHS Secretary Tom Price resigned due to a private plane scandal.

Azar went on to join pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, eventually heading its operations from 2012 until this past January.

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The new HHS secretary will be tasked with implementing Trump administration efforts to unwind Obamacare, a top campaign promise of his, and overseeing the drug industry, which Trump has said is "getting away with murder" by charging high prices for prescription medications.

The Yale Law graduate Azar also had served as general counsel of HHS in the administration of President George W. Bush.

While at Lilly, Azar served on the board of directors for BIO, a drug lobby, according to Politico.

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