Credo Action

Tell the Senate: No Big Pharma CEO as Health Secretary

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Petition to the U.S. Senate:

"Block and resist the nomination of Big Pharma CEO Alex Azar to be secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. A pharmaceutical industry executive who repeatedly raised the price of life-saving medicines has no place in government."

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    Tell the Senate: No Big Pharma CEO as Health Secretary

    We always knew that Donald Trump was nothing more than a Trojan horse for Big Pharma. But now, Trump’s association with Big Pharma is out in the open as he has cut out the middleman and nominated a price-jacking pharmaceutical executive to head the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).1

    While Alex Azar was president of Eli Lilly, the company increased the price of its insulin by 345 percent – and did so in lockstep with other pharmaceutical companies, leaving sick people without options.2,3 At a time of skyrocketing pharmaceutical drug prices, Trump has literally chosen a price-raising Big Pharma CEO to be our nation’s top health official.

    We need to do everything we can to stop this nomination in its tracks – and expose Trump’s lies about wanting to take action against high drug prices. Can you help?

    Tell the Senate: No Big Pharma CEO as Health Secretary.

    Nominating Azar shows that Trump wants to put Big Pharma in charge of our health care system. Azar is one of the worst possible picks for HHS, because he:

    • Raised prices of pharmaceutical drugs on patients. Under Azar, Eli Lilly raised prices on insulin repeatedly and did so at the same time as the other two main suppliers of insulin. Over the past 20 years, the price of Eli Lilly’s insulin has increased 1,000 percent, from $21 per vial to around $300. During Azar’s time at Eli Lilly, the company paid tens of millions in fines for allegedly lying about the cancer risks of some medicines and engaging in illegal off-label sales.4,5
    • Walked through the revolving door between government and pharma. Azar was a big supporter of President George W. Bush and got a job in HHS despite not knowing much about health care. He then left his job to become president of the very corporations he had just been regulating. Now that Eli Lilly has fired him, he is trying to hop back into government – with massive conflicts of interest and a history of blaming safety measures, not greed, for rising pharmaceutical prices.6
    • Wants to sabotage the Affordable Care Act. Azar is an ardent opponent of Obamacare, even though the ACA has lowered costs and covered millions. As head of HHS, he will have the power to sabotage the act by withdrawing funding or misappropriating money designed to let people know about their options.7
    • Supports anti-choice politicians. At a time when Republicans are attacking women’s health across America, the last thing we need is an HHS secretary who has donated heavily to anti-choice candidates.8

    Trump loves to make vague promises about tackling high drug prices. But he always sides with Big Pharma when it counts. Now, he wants to put Big Pharma in charge of our nation’s health. We can’t let that happen.

    Tell the Senate: No Big Pharma CEO as Health Secretary.

    Hundreds of thousands of CREDO members have stood up for Medicare for All and bold solutions to crack down on Big Pharma. At the same time, countless CREDO members have made phone calls or joined campaigns opposing Trumpcare and the Trump administration’s attempts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act.

    The Trump strategy is to intentionally hamstring the Affordable Care Act and then point to the problems they created as a reason to steal health insurance from millions. At the same time, Trump wants to get credit for tweets about pharmaceutical prices while cutting out the middlemen and giving Big Pharma direct access to government. The good news is that massive public pressure stopped Trumpcare – so we know this is Trump’s weak spot, and a huge outcry right now could stall Azar or exposed Trump’s hypocrisy.

    Tell the Senate: No Big Pharma CEO as Health Secretary.

    Thank you for speaking out.

    References:

    1. David Lazarus, “Swamp deepens as Trump names former drug industry exec to be health secretary,” The Los Angeles Times, Nov. 15, 2017.
    2. Justin Mendoza, “With Trump's HHS pick Big Pharma takes over our health system,” The Hill, Nov. 14, 2017.
    3. Lazarus, “Swamp deepens as Trump names former drug industry exec to be health secretary.”
    4. Mendoza, “With Trump's HHS pick Big Pharma takes over our health system.”
    5. Lazarus, “Swamp deepens as Trump names former drug industry exec to be health secretary.”
    6. Ibid.
    7. Ibid.
    8. NARAL Pro-Choice America, “NARAL Statement on Trump’s Announcement on Alex Azar to Lead HHS,” Nov. 13, 2017.