President Trump, who has repeatedly assailed pharmaceutical companies for the high cost of prescription medications in the United States, nominated on Monday a former executive of one of the nation’s largest drug companies to be secretary of health and human services, which has responsibility for regulating the pharmaceutical industry.
Mr. Trump announced his choice of Alex M. Azar II, a former president of the American division of Eli Lilly and a health official in the George W. Bush administration, on Twitter while traveling in Asia. If confirmed, Mr. Azar would succeed Tom Price, who resigned from the post after revelations that he repeatedly used chartered jets for routine government travel.
In contrast to Mr. Price, an orthopedic surgeon and former Republican congressman, Mr. Azar is a lawyer and health care expert who allies predicted would use his deep knowledge of the federal bureaucracy to advance Mr. Trump’s agenda of undermining President Barack Obama’s health care law. Mr. Azar recently called the Affordable Care Act a “fundamentally broken system.”
“Much of the focus will likely be changing the ideology under which the existing law will be administered,” said Mike Leavitt, a former secretary of health and human services who was Mr. Azar’s boss during the Bush administration. “I’m confident that he would like to see the way the law works change.”