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Trump health pick wary of government drug price negotiations

WASHINGTON >> President Donald Trump’s pick for health secretary is telling senators he’s wary of a broad government role in negotiating prescription drug prices.

Alex Azar, a former pharmaceutical and government executive, told the Senate Finance Committee today that he believes drug prices are too high and he’s committed to trying to lower them.

But he said allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices across the board risks restricting choice for patients, since the government would have to establish a national formulary, or approved list of discounted medications.

Azar’s comments came under questioning by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., who said she’s concerned about what direction he would take if confirmed.

Azar said he favors focused negotiations, such as when the government is buying a large quantity of particular drug.

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