On November 16, it was first reported that President-elect Biden will appoint Steve Ricchetti as one of his counselors in the White House. We are disappointed that the President-elect would choose a former lobbyist for Eli Lilly and Sanofi to serve in such a senior post in his administration.
President-elect Biden has made lowering drug prices, including insulin prices, a centerpiece of his messaging since he launched his campaign. This type of appointment signals to the millions of Americans who depend on insulin to survive that the incoming Biden Administration is not going to make solving the insulin crisis a priority. The diabetes community does not need more political theater or empty words. We need affordable insulin.
With that in mind, the selection of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to serve as Secretary of Health and Human Services, first reported on December 6, is more encouraging. Attorney General Becerra has worked tirelessly to defend the Affordable Care Act from the most recent efforts to strike it down, and has expressed support for using administrative action such as march-in rights to lower the price of prescription drugs. If he is confirmed, we would encourage Attorney General Becerra to use the powers available to him as Secretary of Health and Human Services to make insulin and other medicines more affordable in the first days of the new administration.
As the president-elect continues to select people to staff his administration, we encourage him to appoint people to key health posts in the mold of Attorney General Becerra, who do not have ties to the pharmaceutical industry and who are prepared to take the bold action necessary to tackle the twin crises of high drug prices and the COVID-19 pandemic.