Trump nom­i­nates for­mer pharma ex­ec­u­tive as new health sec­re­tary

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - - MILWAUKEE WISCONSIN -

WASH­ING­TON – Turn­ing to an in­dus­try he’s re­buked, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Mon­day picked a for­mer top phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal and gov­ern­ment ex­ec­u­tive to be his health and hu­man ser­vices sec­re­tary, over­see­ing a $1 tril­lion depart­ment re­spon­si­ble for ma­jor health in­sur­ance pro­grams, med­i­cal re­search, food and drug safety, and pub­lic health.

The nom­i­na­tion of Alex Azar is un­usual be­cause HHS sec­re­taries have tended to come from the ranks of elected of­fi­cials such as gov­er­nors, lead­ers in academia and medicine, or top ex­ec­u­tive branch man­agers — not in­dus­tries reg­u­lated by the depart­ment.

Azar, 50, a lawyer by train­ing, has spent most of the past 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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