House Democrats press committee to question Azar on drug prices, ACA

House Democrats sent a letter to leaders of the Senate Finance Committee ahead of Alex Azar's confirmation hearing for HHS secretary demanding they question Mr. Azar on his views on drug pricing and the ACA.

The letter's lead authors — Reps. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, and Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas — are particularly interested in how Mr. Azar's time as president of Eli Lilly's U.S. division will affect his stance on drug prices.

"Due to the urgency with which we must address the affordability crisis, it is critical that we hold the nominee to the highest standards as he seeks to be confirmed as the next leader of our nation's healthcare system," the authors wrote. "[Mr.] Azar's history as a top executive at Eli Lilly when drug prices rose exorbitantly, along with his recent statements about the ACA, demonstrate that he may not meet those standards."

The letter alleges Eli Lilly more than doubled the price of Humalog insulin under Mr. Azar's leadership, raising it from $123 per vial in 2012 to $255 per vial in 2017.

The authors are also worried Mr. Azar will not work to support the ACA.

"Mr. Azar is just another Trump broken promise," Mr. Doggett said in a Monday. "Instead of stopping the 'murder' Trump said Big Pharma was committing, he has put another of their hitmen in charge. Families struggling with high prescription drug prices deserve better."

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