One of the main causes of escalating health-care costs is unchecked pricing on pharmaceuticals, resulting in drug manufacturers jacking up the prices of needed medicines to staggering amounts.

This egregious price gouging needs to stop in order to make health care affordable again, and it should go without saying that former lobbyists and CEOs of drug manufacturers should not hold government positions where they will continue to enrich the industries they formerly worked in.

Consider Alex Azar, the former president of Eli Lilly USA, who has a Senate hearing coming up about his nomination as secretary of Health and Human Services.

While Azar was at Eli Lilly, the corporation nearly quadrupled the price of lifesaving insulin. University researchers isolated insulin 100 years ago; there is no reason for its price to continue rising except windfall profits.

Azar doesn't seem to care that pharmaceutical corporations are responsible for the high prices of medicines. He blames other actors like pharmacists and insurers and often the Affordable Care Act, but the core problem of high prices is pharmaceutical corporations and their abuse of monopoly power.

In his last year at Eli Lilly, Azar pocketed more than $2 million before leaving. He is an example of the revolving door problem in Washington, and should not be confirmed to serve as Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Everyone should contact their U.S. senators in their respective states to oppose this corrupted, conflicted man's confirmation, to ensure that our public servants remain public servants.

Mark Schroeder, Spring Grove

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