Trending News Today: HHS Nominee Vows to Tackle Drug Costs

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

Yesterday, Democrats questioned Alex Azar, President Donald Trump’s pick for Secretary of Health and Human Services, about how he plans to lower high drug costs, according to Kaiser Health News. Azar told the Senate Finance Committee that he was ready to fix the poorly structured health care system and tackle prescription drug spending. Although Democrats pointed to increased costs under his leadership at Eli Lilly, Azar said that the supply chain encourages drug companies to up their prices, which is a problem he plans to address if confirmed, according to the article.

Senate Democrats are calling for an additional $25 billion to be included in a final budget bill to address the opioid epidemic, The Hill reported. The lawmakers argue that budget negotiations can be leveraged to remedy what has thus far been an inadequate federal response to the epidemic, according to the article. Top Democrats have previously pushed for funding, but it has yet to be included in any short- or long-term spending deals.

Philadelphia officials are advocating for the implementation of supervised injection sites in light of a boom in injection drug use related to the opioid epidemic, according to NPR. The safe injection sites would provide clean needles and equipment, as well as medical supervision in hopes of increasing treatment and mitigating potential new infections with HIV or hepatitis C virus. The controversial proposal must overcome resistance from police officials, city residents, and the government, according to the article.