The former Eli Lilly executive enabled profiteering, looting of tax dollars and unethical marketing.
'It should come as no shock that Donald Trump has nominated Alex Michael Azar II, a former Pharma executive and lobbyist, to head the Department of Health and Human Services. After all, Trump named Scott Gottlieb, a Pharma consultant and stock speculator FDA commissioner and EPA opponent Scott Pruitt to be head of the EPA.
Azar would replace Tom Price, who resigned amid a scandal over his use of taxpayer money for his personal and official travel.
While serving as president of Lilly USA, Azar presided over a tripling of the price of its insulin. But that is just the tip of the iceberg.
Azar was vice president of Lilly’s U.S. Managed Healthcare Services in 2009 when the company paid $1.415 billion to settle criminal charges for illegally promoting its antipsychotic Zyprexa for off-label uses. Only four years earlier, the company had pleaded guilty for similar illegal promotion of its hormone drug Evista.
"The company made hundreds of millions of dollars by trying to convince health care providers that Zyprexa was safe for unapproved uses," said Laurie Magid, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, "putting thousands and thousands of patients at risk." Specifically, Lilly promoted Zyprexa for the elderly despite an increased risk of death in those with dementia. In its own published data which it hid from doctors and regulators according to the New York Times 30 percent of patients on Zyprexa gained 22 pounds or more, 16 percent gained 66 pounds or more and some patients gained over 100 pounds. The drug also caused ever-rising blood sugar levels.'
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