Alex Azar

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Alex Azar
Alex Azar WWSG Photo (cropped).jpg
United States Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services
In office
July 22, 2005 – February 4, 2007
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Claude Allen
Succeeded by Tevi Troy
General Counsel of the United States Department of Health and Human Services
In office
August 2001 – July 2005
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Harriet S. Rabb
Succeeded by Daniel Meron
Personal details
Born Alex Michael Azar II
(1967-06-17) June 17, 1967 (age 50)
Johnstown, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Jennifer
Children 2
Parents Lynda, Alex
Residence Indianapolis, Indiana
Education Dartmouth College (BA)
Yale University (JD)
Net worth $8.7 million[1]

Alex Michael Azar II (/ˈzər/ born June 17, 1967) is the current nominee for United States Secretary of Health and Human Services, after being selected by President Donald Trump on November 13, 2017. He was formerly the United States Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services under George W. Bush from 2005 to 2007.[2] From 2012 to 2017, Azar was President of the U.S. division of Eli Lilly and Company, a major pharmaceutical drug company, and was a member of the board of directors of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, a pharmaceutical lobby.

Early life and education[edit]

Azar was born on June 17, 1967 in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. He attended Parkside High School in Salisbury, Maryland from 1981-1985. He received a B.A. degree summa cum laude with highest honors in government and economics from Dartmouth College in 1988, where he was a member of the Kappa Kappa Kappa fraternity. He earned a J.D. degree at the Yale Law School in 1991, where he served as a member of the executive committee of the Yale Law Journal.[3] His father, also named Alex Azar, is a retired doctor of ophthalmology and teacher at Johns Hopkins Hospital. His grandfather emigrated from Lebanon in the early 20th century.[4]

Career[edit]

Law career[edit]

After law school, from 1991 to 1992, Azar served as a law clerk for Judge J. Michael Luttig of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. From 1992 to 1993, he served as a law clerk for Associate Justice Antonin Scalia of the Supreme Court of the United States.[5]

From 1994 to 1996, he served as an Associate Independent Counsel for Kenneth W. Starr in the United States Office of the Independent Counsel, where he worked on the first two years of the investigation into the Whitewater controversy.[6][7]

Between 1996 and 2001, Azar worked for Wiley Rein, a Washington, D.C. law firm, where he achieved partner status.[8]

Health and Human Services[edit]

Official Deputy Secretary portrait

On August 3, 2001, Azar was confirmed to be the General Counsel of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.[9] Azar played an important role in responding to the 2001 anthrax attacks, making sure there was a vaccine ready for small pox, and dealing with outbreaks of SARS and influenza.[4]

On July 22, 2005, Azar was confirmed as the United States Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services.[10] He was twice confirmed unanimously by the United States Senate.

Working under Secretary Mike Leavitt, Azar supervised all operations of HHS, the largest government organization, with an annual budget of over $1 trillion. Azar led the development and approval of all HHS regulations, led U.S. government efforts to encourage worldwide pharmaceutical and medical device innovation, and was in charge of the HHS response to an initiative implemented by President George W. Bush to improve government performance.[4]

Azar resigned in January 2007.[11]

Eli Lilly & Co.[edit]

In June 2007, Azar was hired by Eli Lilly and Company chief executive officer Sidney Taurel to be the company’s top lobbyist and spokesman as its Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Communications.[4][12] Azar left the position after Barack Obama was elected and the company wanted a member of the Democratic Party to have the position.[4]

In April 2009, Azar became Vice President of Lilly’s U.S. Managed Healthcare Services organization and its Puerto Rico affiliate.[13] In 2009, under Azar, the company paid $1.415 billion to settle criminal charges regarding its promotion of antipsychotic drug Zyprexa (olanzapine) for off-label uses.[12]

Effective January 1, 2012, Azar became President of Lilly USA, LLC, the largest division of Eli Lilly and Company, and was responsible for the company's entire operations in the United States.[13] Prices for drugs rose substantially under Azar's leadership.[14] In connection with the position, Azar served on the board of directors of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, a pharmaceutical lobby.[15]

In January 2017, Azar resigned from Eli Lilly.[16] He also resigned from the board of directors of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization.

Secretary of Health and Human Services nomination[edit]

On November 13, 2017, President Trump announced via Twitter that he will nominate Azar to be the next United States Secretary of Health and Human Services.[15][17][5]

Healthcare policy[edit]

Azar has been a critic of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and stated in 2017 that "There will be a piece of legislation passes this year that is called the repeal of Obamacare. I don't know what's going to be in the substance of it, but there will be a piece of legislation that says that."[17] Azar has also stated on the ACA that the Department of Health and Human Services has latitude to "make it work a little better."[14]

Personal life[edit]

Azar lives in Indianapolis with his wife and two children.[18]

Azar serves on the boards of HMS Holdings,[19] the American Council on Germany where he is Chairman of the Strategic Planning Committee, and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.[8]

He has previously served on the board of directors of the Healthcare Leadership Council where he was Treasurer, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the Indianapolis International Airport Authority where he was Chairman of the Human Resources Committee.[8]

Azar is a registered Republican and has contributed to the campaigns of Mike Pence, Mitch McConnell, Orrin Hatch, Lamar Alexander, Jeb Bush, and Donald Trump according to the Center for Responsive Politics.[4]

Notable works[edit]

Azar is a member of the Worldwide Speakers Group and gives speeches on healthcare public policy and how it fosters technology innovation. He is a notable speaker on pandemic influenza preparedness.[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/361264-hhs-nominee-azar-made-millions-working-for-drugmaker
  2. ^ "PN430 - Nomination of Alex Azar II for Department of Health and Human Services, 109th Congress (2005-2006)". U.S. Congress. July 22, 2005. 
  3. ^ "Alex Azar '91". Yale Law School. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Groppe, Maureen (November 13, 2017). "Who is Alex Azar? Former drugmaker CEO and HHS official nominated to head agency". USA Today. 
  5. ^ a b "What people are saying about Trump's pick of former Lilly exec Alex Azar to lead HHS". USA Today. November 13, 2017. 
  6. ^ RISEN, JAMES (September 13, 1994). "Starr Names His First Whitewater Aides: Investigation: Independent counsel announces appointments to fill out prosecution team. He names a Fiske holdover as a top deputy". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. 
  7. ^ Schmidt, Susan (September 13, 1994). "WHITEWATER COUNSEL ASSEMBLES TEAM". The Washington Post. 
  8. ^ a b c "Alex M. Azar II - Biography". World Congress. 
  9. ^ "PN492 - Nomination of Alex Azar II for Department of Health and Human Services, 107th Congress (2001-2002)". United States Congress. August 3, 2001. 
  10. ^ "PN430 - Nomination of Alex Azar II for Department of Health and Human Services, 109th Congress (2005-2006)". United States Congress. July 22, 2005. 
  11. ^ "Azar resigns as HHS deputy secretary". BioCentury. January 17, 2007. (subscription required)
  12. ^ a b Mathis-Lilley, Ben (November 13, 2017). "Trump Health Secretary Nominee Left Job Overseeing Eli Lilly Investigation to Become Eli Lilly's Top Lobbyist". Slate. 
  13. ^ a b "Lilly Announces Changes in Senior Management" (Press release). PRNewswire. October 11, 2011. 
  14. ^ a b Nisen, Max (November 13, 2017). "Alex Azar Is a Friend to Health-Care Companies". Bloomberg L.P. 
  15. ^ a b Vazquez, Maegan (November 13, 2017). "Trump picks former pharma exec, ex-Bush official to lead HHS department". CNN. 
  16. ^ "Lilly to Adjust Organization and Leadership Structure to Better Align with Growth Opportunities" (Press release). PRNewswire. January 5, 2017. 
  17. ^ a b Mangan, Dan (November 13, 2017). "Trump nominates former drug company executive Alex Azar as next Health and Human Services secretary". CNBC. 
  18. ^ DELKIC, MELINA (November 13, 2017). "WHO IS ALEX AZAR? TRUMP'S NEW HHS SECRETARY PICK LOBBIED FOR BIG PHARMA". Newsweek. 
  19. ^ "Board of Directors - HMS Holdings Corp". HMS Holdings. 
  20. ^ "Alex M. Azar II - Worldwide Speakers Group". Worldwide Speakers Group. 

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Harriet S. Rabb
General Counsel of the United States Department of Health and Human Services
2001–2005
Succeeded by
Daniel Meron
Political offices
Preceded by
Claude Allen
United States Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services
2005–2007
Succeeded by
Tevi Troy