Alex Michael Azar II (/ˈeɪzər/ 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. 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.
|United States Secretary of Homeland Security
|Succeeding||Eric Hargan (Acting)|
|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 2001 – July 2005
|President||George W. Bush|
|Preceded by||Harriet S. Rabb|
|Succeeded by||Daniel Meron|
|Born||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. 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. 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.
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.
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.
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 small pox, 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, 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.
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 and 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, under Azar, the company paid $1.415 billion to settle criminal charges regarding its promotion of antipsychotic drug Zyprexa (olanzapine) for off-label uses.
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 will nominate Azar to be the next United States Secretary of Health and Human Services.
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." Azar has also stated on the ACA that the Department of Health and Human Services has latitude to "make it work a little better."
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 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.
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.
Harriet S. Rabb
|General Counsel of the United States Department of Health and Human Services
|United States Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services