HHS secretary back in hospital for bowel condition

HHS secretary back in hospital for bowel condition
FILE - In this Feb. 24, 2018, file photo, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar speaks at the National Governor Association 2018 winter meeting in Washington. A spokeswoman said Azar is back in the hospital for additional treatment and observation. He's been diagnosed with a painful bowel condition called diverticulitis. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A spokeswoman says U.S. health secretary Alex Azar is back in the hospital for additional treatment and observation. He’s been diagnosed with a painful bowel condition called diverticulitis.

Health and Human Services Department spokeswoman Caitlin Oakley says Azar “remains fully engaged with the responsibilities of his job” and is in regular contact with his leadership team. Azar has been putting the finishing touches on a package of measures to reduce prescription drug costs, expected to be announced within weeks.

Diverticulitis is an inflammation or infection of small pouches that bulge outward through the colon. Such pouches — called diverticula — are common among older adults. They often don’t produce any symptoms unless they become inflamed or infected. Azar is 50.

He was first hospitalized over the weekend.