For immediate release
January 9, 2018
Washington, DC – Today, the top UNITE HERE union leader called on members of the Senate Finance Committee to be tough on Trump nominee Alex Azar and call him to task on his long history of price gouging while Azar helped run Pharma giant Eli Lilly.
“The only thing Alex Azar has a proven record on is profiting at the expense of American consumers and preventing working class families from being able to afford the live-saving prescription drugs they rely on,” said D. Taylor, International President of UNITE HERE. “Alex Azar lead the price gouging on insulin at Eli Lilly – under him, insulin prices quadrupled for patients. No matter how much he claims now that his experience ripping off consumers at Eli Lilly has prepared him to be their savior now, his entire career is proof that the only thing he can be trusted to do is make it harder for patients to afford care. Putting a person who pioneered pharmaceutical price gouging in charge of DHHS is putting a fox inside the hen house.”
The backdrop to Tuesday’s vote is the deep entrenchment of the pharmaceutical industry as one of the most powerful players in American politics. The pharmaceutical industry has spent millions of dollars in political contributions to elect federal officeholders from both parties who will be presiding over and voting in tomorrow’s hearing.
Taylor signaled Monday that UNITE HERE will be watching the hearing and line of questioning of Senators toward Azar. “Healthcare is a core working-class issue and Azar represents the very pinnacle of slimy, conflict of interest revolving-door politics while American workers across the country and in each of the states represented by Senate Finance members are struggling. It is time for Democrats to stand up to Trump and his cronies when it comes to the very healthcare of Americans, and it is time for Republicans to understand that American workers who are having their lives destroyed by out of control prescription drug costs will pay them back at the ballot box.”
UNITE HERE represents 270,000 members working in the hotel, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, distribution, laundry, transportation, and airport industries in the U.S. and Canada, and is a longtime leader in affordable, innovative, and accessible healthcare for all workers.