Trump's HHS pick Azar says others are to blame for high drug costs, government should not intervene

Alex Azar, who President Donald Trump intends to nominate secretary of HHS, said he believes pharmaceutical companies are not to blame for the high cost of prescription drugs, which contradicts much of President Trump's rhetoric on the issue, according to Bloomberg.

Mr. Azar is a former executive for pharma giant Eli Lilly, and at a conference this past May, he argued the rapid rise in the cost of prescription drugs is due to changes in the insurance industry.

"Why did things erupt? They erupted because we have seen a complete and fundamental restructuring of health insurance in the United States over the last three to five years," Mr. Azar said, according to Bloomberg.

In a January press conference, President Trump said pharmaceutical companies are "getting away with murder" and advocated for government intervention in drug pricing. In contrast, at a panel last year hosted by the Manhattan Institute, Mr. Azar said it is up to drugmakers, not the government, to determine the cost of drugs.

"When the government gets involved it is more likely than not to create perverse incentives and unintended consequences than when the market players can work together to figure that out," Mr. Azar said, according to Bloomberg.

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