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Sanders vows to 'vigorously' oppose Trump's health nominee

Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersSanders: Trump setting 'terrible example' for our children Gabbard considering 2020 run: report Sanders, Harris set to criss-cross Iowa MORE (I-Vt.) said Monday that he would oppose President Trump’s nominee for secretary of Health and Human Services, denouncing his ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

The nominee, Alex Azar, is a former executive at the drug company Eli Lilly and also served in the Department of Health and Human Services under President George W. Bush.

“At a time when the United States pays, by far, the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs, the last thing we need is to put a pharmaceutical executive in charge of the Department of Health and Human Services,” Sanders said in a statement.

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Sanders said the nomination shows Trump is not living up to his attacks on the pharmaceutical industry and stated desire to bring down prices.

The former presidential candidate said the nomination shows Trump was “never serious about his promise to stop the pharmaceutical industry from ‘getting away with murder.’”

“We need an HHS secretary who is willing to take on the greed of the pharmaceutical industry and lower prescription drug prices, not one who has financially benefitted from this greed,” Sanders said. “I will vigorously oppose this nomination.”

Sanders is one of the most outspoken members of the Democratic caucus against high drug prices and the pharmaceutical industry.

Other Senate Democrats have so far taken a more restrained approach. Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Health care a top policy message in fall campaigns McConnell says deficits 'not a Republican problem' Medicare for All is disastrous for American seniors and taxpayers MORE (N.Y.), for example, did not take a position on Azar in a statement and said he wants to review the nomination.