Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
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Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
Pharmaguy curates and provides insights into selected drug industry news and issues.
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Trump Is Turning U.S. Health Agencies Into a “Pharma Swamp”

Trump Is Turning U.S. Health Agencies Into a “Pharma Swamp” | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

President Trump has vilified the pharmaceutical industry and made bold promises to lower prescription drug prices. But when it comes to staffing the health care agencies empowered to oversee those efforts, he has turned regularly to the pharmaceutical industry.

 

His Food and Drug Administration chief, Scott Gottlieb, was a longtime industry investor and adviser to major players like GlaxoSmithKline and Bristol-Myers Squibb. A senior adviser at the Health and Human Services Department, Keagan Lenihan, joined the administration after running the lobby shop for the drug and distribution giant McKesson. Tim Clark, the White House liaison for political personnel at HHS, was still lobbying for pharma company Eisai earlier this year. And Trump has a former Gilead lobbyist, Joe Grogan, reviewing health care regulations at the Office of Management and Budget. The chief of staff at HHS, Lance Leggitt, lobbied for a whole host of drug clients, even last year.

 

This week the president named Alex Azar, who spent more than a decade at the pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, as his health secretary nominee.

 

It’s a lengthy list that highlights just how reliant Trump is on the industry he has promised time and again to rein in. And his picks stand out when compared with those of previous administrations. In a STAT review of the public biographies of more than five dozen top health officials and advisers across the Obama, Bush and Clinton administrations, only a handful of individuals appear to have joined the administration directly from the private sector.

 

“The trends in pharmaceuticals kind of run in parallel to the trends in the financial sector and Wall Street — you have an industry that Trump ran against pretty aggressively, with pretty strident language in 2016, and he is now seeing those industries as essentially farm clubs. He’s going to bring them up to the major leagues of his administration,” said Jeff Hauser, who runs the Revolving Door Project at the Center for Economic and Policy Research. “It’s unusually stark and unapologetic.”

 

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If Alex Azar Is Confirmed as HHS Secretary, the Big Pharma/Gov’t Swamp Will Get Worse

If Alex Azar Is Confirmed as HHS Secretary, the Big Pharma/Gov’t Swamp Will Get Worse | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

If Alex Azar Is Confirmed as HHS Secretary, Big Pharma’s Coup of Health Care Sphere Will Be Virtually Complete

Statement of Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen

Note: Media reports indicate that President Donald Trump is likely to nominate Alex Azar, who served for five years as president of Lilly USA, LLC, the largest affiliate of global biopharmaceutical leader Eli Lilly and Company, to be the next U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Just days after denouncing “out-of-control” drug prices, President Donald Trump appears set to show he doesn’t mean it by naming a former pharmaceutical company executive to run the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. If Alex Azar is nominated and his nomination confirmed, then Big Pharma’s coup d’etat in the health care sphere will be virtually complete.

In his public statements, Alex Azar has made clear that he is opposed to measures to restrain drug company profiteering and limit improper marketing and favors weaker drug safety approval standards.

Americans understand, passionately, that drug company price gouging leads to rationing of care. It is unethical and must end. Even President Trump says so. But it is highly unlikely that a pharmaceutical company executive who has made passionate arguments against price restraints is going to advance real reform. Much more likely is that he serves as the instrument by which Big Pharma aims to defend its monopolies and unaffordable prices.

The swamp only gets worse. Tom Price supported Big Pharma in the U.S. Congress. Now apparently Trump has decided to cut out the middleman, and let a pharmaceutical executive literally run the health department.

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