January 24, 2018 / 7:45 PM / 6 months ago

Majority of U.S. Senate votes to confirm Azar as health secretary

WASHINGTON, Jan 24 (Reuters) - A majority of the U.S. Senate on Wednesday voted to confirm former pharmaceutical industry executive and lobbyist Alex Azar as the next Health and Human Services secretary.

Azar would be charged with overseeing the Trump administration’s response to the opioid epidemic, its efforts to weaken the Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare, and addressing rising prescription drug prices.

Most Democrats opposed Azar’s nomination, and several delivered impassioned speeches on Tuesday and Wednesday that criticized Azar for raising drug prices while he was at U.S. pharmaceutical firm Eli Lilly & Co, where he spent five years as president of its U.S. unit. (Reporting by Yasmeen Abutaleb; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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