Ex-drugmaker exec top candidate to be Trump's new health chief: report

Ex-drugmaker exec top candidate to be Trump's new health chief: report
© Greg Nash

Former pharmaceutical industry executive Alex Azar is reportedly the front-runner to be the next secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Azar, who served at HHS under former President George W. Bush, would replace Trump's first pick for the position, Tom PriceThomas (Tom) Edmunds PriceWhite House officials discussing potential replacements for FEMA chief: report Overnight Health Care: CBO finds bill delaying parts of ObamaCare costs B | Drug CEO defends 400 percent price hike | HHS declares health emergency ahead of hurricane HHS should look into Azar's close ties to the drug industry MORE, Politico reported.

Price resigned from his post as HHS chief last month amid uproar over his use of private jets for official travel.

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"I have spent forty years both as a doctor and public servant putting people first. I regret that the recent events have created a distraction from these important objectives," Price said in his resignation letter.

"Success on these issues is more important than any one person. In order for you to move forward without further disruption, I am officially tendering my resignation," he continued.

Azar served as general counsel and deputy secretary of HHS during the Bush administration. He then joined pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Company in 2007. He left the company in January after serving as senior vice president of corporate affairs and communications and then leading the company's U.S. operations.

During a conference in May, Azar — who served as a board of directors for drug lobby BIO — said the country "has a problem" in that "patients are paying too much for drugs."
 
He backed former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush during the 2016 Republican presidential primary.
 
Trump announced earlier this month that Eric Hargan — who the Senate confirmed last week to fill the No. 2 position within HHS — would serve as the new acting secretary for HHS.