November 27, 2017

Senator Hassan Meets with Secretary of Health and Human Services Nominee Alex Azar

Senator Presses Nominee on Need to Lower Prescription Drug Costs, Take Urgent Action to Address Opioid Crisis

WASHINGTON – Senator Maggie Hassan, a member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, met today with Alex Azar, President Trump’s nominee to be Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Senator Hassan pressed Mr. Azar on the importance of addressing skyrocketing prescription drug costs, and the need to take urgent action to support states like New Hampshire that have been hardest hit by the fentanyl, heroin, and opioid crisis.

“The fentanyl, heroin, and opioid epidemic is the most pressing public health and safety challenge facing New Hampshire, and the next Secretary of Health and Human Services must understand the urgent need for robust federal funding for states like ours that have been hardest hit by this crisis,” Senator Hassan said. “Instead of undermining our health care system and working to strip health insurance coverage away from hard-working Granite Staters as the Trump Administration has done to date, we need a leader at the Health and Human Services Department who is committed to addressing the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs and putting the health of patients over big pharma. Given Mr. Azar’s history as a top executive at a major pharmaceutical company, I have concerns about his commitment to holding the pharmaceutical industry accountable, and I look forward to continuing to question him during the nomination process.”

Senator Hassan helped introduce the bipartisan Targeted Opioid Formula Act with Senator Jeanne Shaheen and others to prioritize federal funding for states that have been hardest hit by the opioid epidemic, including New Hampshire. Senator Hassan also helped introduce the Improving Access to Affordable Prescription Drugs Act to help bring down the skyrocketing price of prescription drugs – including by allowing Medicare to negotiate the price of prescription drugs and permitting the safe importation of affordable prescription drugs from places such as Canada.