Comments Come After Pharmaceutical Q2 Earnings Calls Prove the Drug Industry is Booming Under Trump-Azar
WASHINGTON — During an interview with CNBC on Wednesday, a major pharma exec showed that, despite presidential and congressional promises to lower prescription drug prices, he isn’t too concerned about the future of the pharmaceutical industry. Second-quarter earnings calls from show drug companies are maximizing profits under Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and the Trump administration.
“Of course big pharma executives are relaxed when their best friend, Secretary Azar, is in charge of drug pricing for the administration,” said Lizzy Price, Director of Restore Public Trust. “They aren’t worried because their industry is safe in the hands of this administration. Secretary Azar and Trump’s empty promises to lower drug prices are hollow – they have failed to lower drug prices and they’ve even held secret Oval Office meetings with pharma executives. How can Americans trust that Azar will check the power of his friends when he helped create the systems that allow them to prey on Americans? The truth is – they can’t.”
For a decade before he resigned to become the head of HHS, Azar rose through the ranks of Eli Lilly USA, becoming president of the company’s largest division in 2012. In June, Restore Public Trust launched a website, BigPharmasBestFriends.org, which reveals sixteen Trump administration officials who have made almost $6 million from the pharmaceutical industry while everyday Americans struggle to find the money for lifesaving drugs they need.
Among them are Azar, an executive of Eli Lilly when the company increased the price of Humalog, a top-selling insulin, by 345%, and Acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless, who co-founded G1 Therapeutics and owned at least $6 million in assets, and whose former company’s stock soared after their drug was fast-tracked by the FDA, just weeks after Sharpless was named to the position.
The website highlights key data including:
- At least 16 current or former Trump administration officials have ties to the pharmaceutical industry and have profited $5.9 million from the pharmaceutical industry.
- At least five high-ranking Trump administration employees who were former pharmaceutical company lobbyists.
- During Azar’s tenure at Eli Lilly, the cost of Diabetes medication Humalog, its top-selling insulin, 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.
- Acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless, who co-founded G1 Therapeutics, owned at least $6 million in assets. G1 Therapeutics stock soared after Sharpless was named to the position.