Trump’s Pick for Health Secretary Led Company That Jacked Up Insulin Prices

Alice Dautry, the director of the Pasteur Institute, a French research laboratory, smiles next to then-US Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar II, February 6, 2006. (Photo: Stephane De Sakutin / AFP / Getty Images)

The Canadian research team that developed insulin as a breakthrough treatment for diabetes back in 1923 sold the patent for just $3, essentially giving its intellectual property away for the greater good.

Nowadays, the companies that manufacture this crucial medicine raise the price on a regular basis in order to maximize profits. One of those companies is Eli Lilly and Co., where Alex Azar II, the man that President Trump has selected to run the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently worked as a top executive.

During Azar’s eight-year tenure as president and vice president of Eli Lilly’s operations in the United States, the pharmaceutical giant raised the price of Humalog, a fast-acting form of insulin, from $2,657 per year to $9,172. That’s a 345 percent price increase for a drug that millions of patients depend on, according to Peter Maybarduk, the director of the Access to Medicines Program at the watchdog group Public Citizen.

President Trump announced on Wednesday that he is nominating Azar to replace a disgraced Tom Price as health secretary:

 “As Tweeter-in-Chief, Trump tells us Azar will be a ‘star’ who will lower prescription prices,” Maybarduk said in a statement. “Maybe he should have asked the six million diabetic Americans whose insulin prices have more than tripled under Azar’s watch at Eli Lilly.”

Azar served as a general counsel and deputy secretary of HHS during the Bush administration and later entered the private sector, where he became a leading executive at Eli Lilly. He is a staunch conservative who has…

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