More Pharma Ties: FDA Administrator Gottlieb Headlines Event Sponsored by Eli Lilly One Day After Announcing His Resignation

Gottlieb speaking at event sponsored by HHS Secretary Azar’s former employer

Washington, DC — Today, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Administrator Scott Gottlieb will headline an event sponsored by Eli Lilly, the massive pharmaceutical company where Gottlieb’s boss, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Scott Azar, served as a top executive before becoming HHS Director. As FDA Administrator, Gottlieb reports to Secretary Azar’s office, raising questions as to whether he’s speaking as a favor for his boss’ old company. Yesterday, Administrator Gottlieb announced that he would be resigning from his position as FDA Administrator in a month.

“We already know that Secretary Azar is big pharma’s best friend. But FDA Commissioner Gottlieb may be a close second,” said Lizzy Price, spokeswoman for Restore Public Trust. “Administrator Gottlieb’s headlining an Eli Lilly-sponsored event is no surprise – he’s made hundreds of thousands off of pharmaceutical companies for over a decade. Americans deserve an administration that is concerned about their healthcare, not doing the bidding of pharmaceutical corporations. Makes you wonder what pharmaceutical company is waiting to welcome him.”

While this morning’s event is described as a conversation about keeping patients “at the center of the drug delivery system,” when Secretary Azar was a top executive at Eli Lilly the company repeatedly raised its drug prices. In particular, a recent report from Restore Public Trust found:

  • Over a seven-year period that included Azar’s tenure, three Eli Lilly drugs increased in price by 200-400%.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Last month, Restore Public Trust also launched a TV ad highlighting Azar’s cozy relationship with big pharma.

This morning’s event is happening at the Newseum at 8:00AM. More details can be found here.

Press Release

Alex Azar

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