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Trump’s pick to head HHS drove up insulin prices at Eli Lilly

Written by Diane Archer

Caitlyn McClure of the Other 98 reports that Alex Azar, President Trump’s pick to head the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is a Pharma executive who drove up insulin prices at Eli Lilly. If confirmed, Azar can be counted on to help Pharma and disregard the public interest in having HHS ensure Americans good affordable health care.

Over the last 50 years, Eli Lilly has paid billions of dollar in settlements for illegal marketing of drugs, bribery, and the sale of unsafe products. Ten years ago, the FDA charged Lilly with misleading marketing of dog medicines.

Today, Eli Lilly is embroiled in allegations around insulin price fixing. At least five states are investigating Lilly for raising insulin prices to the same level as its competitors. In addition, a federal class-action RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) suit has been brought against Lilly.

Azar was president of Lilly USA in 2012. During his ten-year tenure at Lilly, Lilly tripled its price for insulin and hiked up prices on other drugs to increase its revenue. It created no new drugs. James Elliott of The Nation reports that Lilly’s Humalog, an insulin medicine, costs more today than it did in 1996 when it came to market. In the last 10 years, while Azar was at Eli Lilly, its list price went from $74 to $269.

McClure points out that Trump’s selection of Azar as HHS head is at odds with Trump’s alleged goal of keeping Pharma from “getting away with murder.”

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