Alex Michael Azar II (/ˈeɪzər/ born June 17, 1967) is an American politician, lawyer, pharmaceutical lobbyist and former drug company executive who is the current United States Secretary of Health and Human Services. Azar was nominated by President Donald Trump on November 13, 2017 and confirmed by the United States Senate on January 24, 2018. He was formerly the United States Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services under George W. Bush from 2005 to 2007.
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.
|24th United States Secretary of Health and Human Services|
|Assumed office |
January 29, 2018
|Preceded by||Tom Price|
|United States Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services|
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|
August 8, 2001 – July 22, 2005
|President||George W. Bush|
|Preceded by||Harriet S. Rabb|
|Succeeded by||Daniel Meron|
Alex Michael Azar II
June 17, 1967
Johnstown, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Education||Dartmouth College (BA)|
Yale University (JD)
|Net worth||$8.7 million|
Azar was born on June 17, 1967, in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, the son of Lynda (Zarisky) and Alex Azar. His father is of Lebanese descent. He attended Parkside High School in Salisbury, Maryland, from 1981 to 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. His father, also named Alex Azar, is a retired doctor of ophthalmology and teacher at Johns Hopkins Hospital; he practiced ophthalmology in Salisbury, Maryland, for more than 30 years. His grandfather emigrated from Lebanon in the early 20th century.
After law school, from 1991 to 1992, Azar served as a law clerk for Judge Alex Kozinski of the United States Court of Appeals for the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Azar was fired after six weeks, and was replaced in Kozinski's chambers by Brett Kavanaugh. Azar subsequently clerked for the remainder of the term 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.
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. At the time of Azar's appointment, he was working as an associate in Starr's law firm.
On August 3, 2001, Azar was confirmed to be the General Counsel of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Azar played an important role in responding to the 2001 anthrax attacks, making sure there was a vaccine ready for smallpox, and dealing with outbreaks of SARS and influenza. On July 22, 2005, Azar was confirmed as the United States Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services. He was twice confirmed unanimously by the United States Senate.
Working under Secretary Mike Leavitt, Azar supervised all operations of HHS 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.
Azar resigned in January 2007.
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. Azar left the position after Barack Obama was elected as the company wanted a member of the Democratic Party to have the position.
In April 2009, Azar became Vice President of Lilly's U.S. Managed Healthcare Services organization and its Puerto Rico affiliate. In 2009, the company paid $1.415 billion to settle criminal charges regarding its promotion of antipsychotic drug Zyprexa (olanzapine) for off-label uses between 1999 and 2005.
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. Prices for drugs rose substantially under Azar's leadership. In connection with the position, Azar served on the board of directors of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, a pharmaceutical lobby.
In January 2017, Azar resigned from Eli Lilly. He also resigned from the board of directors of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization.
On November 13, 2017, President Trump announced via Twitter that he would nominate Azar to be the next United States Secretary of Health and Human Services. Azar was confirmed on January 24, 2018, with a vote of 55–43.
He was sworn in by Vice President Pence on January 29, 2018.
Azar has been a critic of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and predicted 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." Also regarding the ACA, Azar said that the Department of Health and Human Services has latitude to "make it work a little better."
Azar opposes abortion rights. In a written response to Senator Patty Murray regarding future HHS policy, he said that, "The mission of HHS is to enhance the health and well-being of all Americans, and this includes the unborn.”
According to The New York Times, Azar differed with his predecessor Tom Price in terms of their approach to regulations. Writing in May 2018, The Times said, "in a sharp break from his predecessor — and from most Trump cabinet secretaries — he seems to be relishing the chance to write new regulations, rather than just crossing out Obama-era ones."
Azar served for two years on the board of HMS Holdings. He is currently on the board of the American Council on Germany, where he is Chairman of the Strategic Planning Committee; and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.
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.
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.
An open letter from Azar is printed as the opening in the book by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, and Jim Huling, The Four Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals (2012).
In a press release announcing his departure in 2007, Azar said of his time in the administration....
Harriet S. Rabb
| General Counsel of the United States Department of Health and Human Services
| United States Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services
| United States Secretary of Health and Human Services
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
as Secretary of Labor
| Order of Precedence of the United States
as Secretary of Health and Human Services
as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
|U.S. presidential line of succession|
as Secretary of Labor
| 12th in line
as Secretary of Health and Human Services
as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Alex is a common given name commonly associated with the Greek name Alexandros. In English, it is usually a diminutive of the male given name Alexander, or its female equivalent Alexandra or Alexandria. Aleck or Alec is the Scottish form of Alex. The East European male name Alexey (Aleksei, Alexis, Aleksa) is also sometimes shortened to Alex. It is a commonly used nickname in Spanish for Alejandro, Alexandro, Alejandrino and Alexandrino, and related names like Alexa and Alexis.Anna Cristina Niceta Lloyd
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Members of the Cabinet of the United States
a acting; c cabinet-level
|Secretaries of Heath,|
Education, and Welfare
|Secretaries of Health|
and Human Services
See also: Political appointments of Donald Trump
* Ineligible to act as president