Senate panel set to vote on Alex Azar's nomination for Health and Human Services secretary

Alex Azar
Despite concerns with his ties to the pharmaceutical industry, Alex Azar is considered likely to get the support of the Senate Finance Committee and later the full Senate. (Wwsgconnect)

The Senate Finance Committee will vote on the nomination of Alex Azar as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services during an executive session tomorrow.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, has scheduled the markup of the nomination for 10 a.m. on Wednesday.

If approved, Azar’s nomination will go to a full Senate vote at a later date.

RELATED: Senators grill HHS secretary nominee Alex Azar on drug prices, Affordable Care Act at confirmation hearing

During a hearing before the Senate Finance Committee earlier this month, Azar was questioned by Democratic lawmakers about his commitment to lowering skyrocketing drug prices since those costs more than doubled for certain prescriptions while he was the head of Eli Lilly’s U.S. operation. But Azar said that no one drug company can fix the system.

There is also no “silver bullet” to fix the complex issue of drug pricing, Azar told the committee. He said he’d advocate for robust competition in the biosimilar market and going after drug companies that “game” the system by protecting their branded drug patents and delaying competition for generics.

RELATED: Big pharma experience shouldn’t disqualify Alex Azar as HHS secretary, Sen. Orrin Hatch says

Despite concerns with his ties to the pharmaceutical industry, Azar is considered likely to get the support of the Senate Finance Committee and later the full Senate. He has successfully gone through the confirmation process before for two positions at HHS. Azar served as the general counsel for HHS from 2001 to 2005 and later became the deputy secretary under then-HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt, a position he held for two years.

RELATED: 10 things to know about former pharma executive Alex Azar, Trump's pick for HHS secretary 

If confirmed by the full Senate, Azar will replace Tom Price, M.D., who resigned in late September after controversy over reports he spent nearly $1 million in taxpayer money to travel on private and government planes for government business.

Suggested Articles

Hospitals are already signaling a legal challenge to a final rule from CMS on price transparency, but the agency is ready.

Aleksandr Pikus, 44, of Brooklyn, was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and two counts of money laundering.

CMS issued a proposed rule and a final rule aimed at increasing price transparency from hospitals and insurers.