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And Azar Confirmed

Alex Azar has been confirmed as secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services, NPR reports. The Associated Press notes that the 55-to-42 vote to confirm him was broadly along party lines.

Azar, a lawyer, previously led the US division of Eli Lilly, and now as HHS secretary will oversee agencies like the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Before joining Eli Lilly, Azar held senior posts at HHS during the Bush Administration.

According to the AP, Azar has set four goals: to lower prescription drug cost, ensure health insurance affordability and availability, link Medicare payments to quality, and address the opioid epidemic.

NPR notes, though, that some have raised concerns about Azar's ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

"I don't have pharma's policy agenda," he told the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, according to the AP. "This is the most important job I will have in a lifetime, and my commitment is to the American people."

Azar was nominated to the post in November, following the resignation of Tom Price in September after questions arose surrounding Price's expenditures on private flights.