While Health and Human Services nominee Alex Azar was president of Eli Lilly, he exploited a loophole in pediatric research law to protect his company's profits.

With former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price out over his personal use of taxpayer money for luxury travel, Donald Trump is pushing former pharmaceutical executive Alex Azar to be his replacement.

But Azar’s past reveals he is every bit the same sort of creature as Price, gaming government laws for profit.

According to Politico, while Azar was president of Eli Lilly’s North American operations, the company extended the life of its patent on the erectile dysfunction medication Cialis by testing it on children:

The drugmaker believed the erectile dysfunction drug might help a rare and deadly muscle-wasting disease that afflicts boys. The drug didn’t work — but under a law that promotes pediatric research, Lilly was able to extend the Cialis patent anyway for six months — and that’s worth a lot when a medication brings in over $2 billion a year.

Azar is well know for milking exorbitant profits from pharmaceuticals by any means necessary, having massively raised the price of insulin for diabetics.

At his confirmation hearing, Azar told a Senate committee he believes Medicare should be able to bargain drug prices and that HHS must prevent companies from “gaming the system” on patents. He is clearly speaking from past experience, and his record calls into question how committed he is to any of these things.

Trump has repeatedly chosen people with close ties to the industries they are overseeing. As Azar’s exploitation of children to protect his company’s profits shows, HHS is unlikely to escape the grip of regulatory capture any time soon.


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