As Congress Investigates Spike In Insulin Prices, Big Pharma’s Best Friend Azar Is Conspicuously Absent

Before Becoming HHS Secretary, Azar Made Millions at Eli Lilly As the Company Tripled the Price of Insulin

Washington — Today, the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce is investigating drastic insulin price increases in their hearing, “Priced Out of a Lifesaving Drug: The Human Impact of Rising Insulin Costs.” While the hearing will examine increasing insulin prices, one key witness is absent: Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. Today’s hearing is the first of two the subcommittee will hold on rising insulin prices.

“As Congress continues to investigate rising insulin prices, they should keep in mind that the Secretary of Health and Human Services worked for Eli Lilly when insulin prices skyrocketed,” said Lizzy Price, spokesperson for Restore Public Trust. “While the Trump administration made empty promises to lower drug prices, Secretary Azar’s big pharma pals are still getting rich off of a critical medication that is prohibitively expensive for those who need it.”

A report published by Restore Public Trust found:

  • During Azar’s tenure, Eli Lilly increased the cost of Diabetes medication Humalog, its top-selling insulin, by 345%.
  • During Azar’s tenure at Eli Lilly, Humalog went from $74 a vial to $269 a vial.
  • Eli Lilly increased the price of insulin by 450% above inflation while Azar was at the company.
  • Attorneys general in several states are reportedly investigating insulin drug pricing by Eli Lilly including charges of price fixing that would have occurred during Azar’s tenure.
  • Eli Lilly is named as a defendant in a class action lawsuit alleging price fixing during Azar’s tenure.

In addition to the report, Restore Public Trust launched a digital ad highlighting Azar’s history as a pharmaceutical insider. And Azar isn’t the only HHS official who is untrustworthy when it comes to Americans’ healthcare. Recently, Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma came under fire for wasting millions of taxpayer dollars to hire personal PR consultants.

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