- Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), President-elect Donald Trump’s nomination to head HHS, has agreed to divest shares in more than three dozen healthcare companies if confirmed by the Senate, Politico reported.
- In a letter to HHS’ Office of Ethics, Price said he’ll sell all interest in 43 companies, including Pfizer and Eli Lilly, within 90 days of Senate approval.
- He also pledged to resign his positions as an American Medical Association delegate and a managing partner of Chattahoochee Associates, and said he would recuse himself from issues involving the AMA for one year.
While the letter itself is not unusual for a cabinet nominee, it comes amid concerns that Price could use his new office to benefit businesses in which he has a financial stake. Price traded about $300,000 in healthcare stocks while serving in the House and working on healthcare legislation, including the recently passed 21st Century Cures Bill, which promises to speed new drugs and medical devices to market.
Price has also come under fire for going to bat for industry donors. According to Kaiser Health News, the congressman questioned the Food and Drug Administration 38 times over the past decade on behalf of drug and medical devices manufacturers. A KHN report this morning found Price received "a sweetheart deal" from Innate Immunotherapies, an Australian biotech company.
A vocal opponent of the Affordable Care Act, Price authored legislation this past fall to repeal and replace the law with tax credits for Americans to buy health coverage. Republicans on the Hill have already started to dismantle the ACA using the budget reconciliation process. Trump has promised an alternative plan once Price is confirmed.
The Senate HELP Committee will grill Price about his plans for HHS on Jan. 18. The Senate Finance Committee, which will ultimately approve or deny his nomination, has yet to schedule a hearing.