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Collins Questions Trump's HHS Nominee On Drug Pricing Policies

Carolyn Kaster
Associated Press
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Me., questions Alex Azar, President Donald Trump's nominee to become Secretary of Health and Human Services, during a Senate committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday.

President Trump's nominee to head the federal Department of Health and Human Services was grilled by members of a Senate committee Wednesday, including Maine Sen. Susan Collins.

Collins, a Republican, questioned former pharmaceutical executive Alex Azar about federal policies that she says drive up the cost of drugs for consumers. 

Collins pointed to how drug companies prohibit pharmacists from telling customers that it is cheaper to buy some drugs for cash than to get them through their insurance plan.

“I was outraged to learn that they are under gag orders that prohibit them from informing their customers there is a differential in price,” Collins said.

Collins asked for - and got - Azar’s pledge to work to outlaw such practices, and to work on other changes aimed at lowering drug prices for consumers.

Azar has spent the last 10 years working for one of the nation’s largest drug companies, Eli Lilly.