HHS Secretary Alex Azar is Big Pharma’s Best Friend
President Trump promised big changes to skyrocketing drug prices during Tuesday’s State of the Union Address, but his words are empty considering his pick to execute the job, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. A new TV ad from Restore Public Trust highlights Secretary Azar’s history as a pharmaceutical insider, proving he is the wrong person for the job.
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Our research has found:
- Over a seven-year period that included Azar's tenure, three Eli Lilly drugs increased in price by 200-400%.
- In 2016, Eli Lilly reported to investors that it raised prices on all its drugs by an average of 14 percent across the board. In 2015, prices rose by 16.3% across the board. In 2014, prices rose by 11.8% across the board. In 2013, prices rose by 15% across the board. In 2012, prices increased by 12.8% across the board.
- Forteo, a drug for osteoporosis, rose by 68% between 2012 and 2015 alone. It was the single highest retail price increase for a specialty drug of its kind according to the AARP.
- Under Azar, Eli Lilly released a new lung cancer drug that would prolong the life of patients with terminal cancer. It cost $10,000 a month. Another cancer drug, Cyramza, cost $50,000 per treatment course. Yet another drug for colorectal cancer costs $30,000 for a seven-week course of therapy.
- During the 10 year period that Azar worked at the company, it doubled the cost of Cymbalta, a drug for depression.
- During Azar's tenure, Eli Lilly increased the cost of Diabetes medication Humalog by 345%.
- Eli Lilly increased the price of insulin by 450% above inflation while Azar was at the company.