Xavier Becerra, new HHS secretary, at his nomination hearing (Greg Nash/Pool via AP Images)

Drug­mak­ers brace for a pric­ing fight as Xavier Be­cer­ra is con­firmed as the next HHS sec­re­tary

By a ra­zor-thin mar­gin of 50-49, all Sen­ate De­moc­rats and Maine Re­pub­li­can Su­san Collins on Thurs­day con­firmed for­mer Cal­i­for­nia At­tor­ney Gen­er­al Xavier Be­cer­ra as the head of the De­part­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices (HHS) — set­ting the stage for what may be ma­jor pric­ing bat­tles with the bio­phar­ma in­dus­try.

The par­ti­san di­vide over Be­cer­ra’s nom­i­na­tion came as De­moc­rats lined up be­hind Be­cer­ra’s tough stance against drug­mak­ers and for Oba­macare, among oth­er is­sues, while Re­pub­li­cans lam­bast­ed his lack of med­ical and sci­en­tif­ic ex­pe­ri­ence, as well as his tough stance against the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­try.

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