49 Facts About Alex Azar


Alex Michael Azar II is an American attorney, businessman, lobbyist, and former pharmaceutical executive who served as the United States secretary of health and human services from 2018 to 2021.


Alex Azar was chairman of the White House Coronavirus Task Force from its inception in January 2020 to February 2020, when he was replaced by Vice President Mike Pence.


Alex Azar served as general counsel of the United States Department of Health and Human Services from 2001 to 2005.


From 2012 to 2017, Alex Azar was president of the US division of Eli Lilly and Company, a major drug company, and a member of the board of directors of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, a large pharmaceutical trade association.


Alex Azar's father is a retired ophthalmologist who practiced ophthalmology in Salisbury, Maryland, for more than 30 years, and taught at Johns Hopkins Hospital.


Alex Azar's grandfather emigrated from Lebanon in the early 20th century.


Alex Azar attended Parkside High School in Salisbury, Maryland, where he graduated in 1985.


Alex Azar earned a JD degree from Yale Law School in 1991, where he served as a member of the executive committee of the Yale Law Journal.


Alex Azar left after six weeks, and was replaced in Kozinski's chambers by Brett Kavanaugh.


Between 1996 and 2001, Alex Azar worked for Wiley Rein, a Washington, DC, law firm, where he achieved partner status.


George W Bush's first HHS secretary, Tommy Thompson, said Azar played an important role in responding to the 2001 anthrax attacks, ensuring there was a vaccine ready for smallpox, and dealing with outbreaks of SARS and influenza.


On July 22,2005, Alex Azar was confirmed as the deputy secretary of Health and Human Services.


Alex Azar was twice confirmed unanimously by the United States Senate.


In June 2007, Alex 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.


Alex Azar left the position after the 2008 United States presidential election was won by Democratic Party candidate Barack Obama and the corporation wanted to replace Alex Azar with a Democrat in that role.


Effective January 1,2012, Alex 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 Alex Azar's leadership, including the tripling of the cost of the company's top-selling insulin drug.


Also under Alex Azar's watch, Eli Lilly was one of three companies accused in a class-action lawsuit of exploiting the drug pricing system to increase profits for insulin.


In connection with the position, Alex Azar served on the board of directors of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, a pharmaceutical lobby.


In January 2017, Alex Azar resigned from Eli Lilly "to pursue other career opportunities" as a result of a company reorganization.


Alex Azar resigned from the board of directors of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization.


On November 13,2017, President Trump announced via Twitter that he would nominate Alex Azar to be the next Secretary of Health and Human Services.


Critics noted that Alex Azar approved a tripling of the price of insulin while vice president of Managed Healthcare Services of Eli Lilly.


Alex Azar had additionally consulted with numerous other biopharmaceutical and health insurance corporations regarding government policy, product access, sales and marketing, pricing, reimbursement, and distribution.


Alex Azar was confirmed by the Senate on January 24,2018, and sworn in by Vice President Pence on January 29,2018.


From March to December 2018, Alex Azar sat on the Federal Commission on School Safety.


Alex Azar learned about the coronavirus threat on January 3,2020.


Alex Azar informed associates that he had alerted Trump on January 18,2020, regarding the potential danger from COVID-19, but that the president thought he was being "alarmist" as Alex Azar struggled to get Trump's attention to focus on the issue.


At the time, Alex Azar said, there were just five confirmed cases in the US, there was no known person-to-person transmission, and every confirmed US victim had traveled to Wuhan, China.


On January 29,2020, Alex Azar told Trump that the COVID-19 epidemic was under control.


However, two days later, on January 31,2020, Alex Azar declared a public health emergency.


On February 28,2020, United States Senate Finance Committee ranking member Ron Wyden wrote Alex Azar to ask why employees of the HHS Administration for Children and Families were involuntarily dispatched to California to meet with quarantined travelers despite lacking expertise in the field and lacking proper information, equipment, and training.


Alex Azar picked Brian Harrison, a 37-year old former Labradoodle breeder who had no formal education in public health or related fields, but who had worked in the HHS for six years, as HHS's main coordinator for the government's response to the coronavirus.


On January 28,2020, Alex Azar requested that the Chinese government allow a CDC expert team into their country to help them learn more about the virus.


Alex Azar said it might be possible to ban any travelers arriving from China, and all options had to be considered.


On February 25,2020, Alex Azar appeared before the Senate Appropriations Committee to testify on the danger of and responses to the pandemic.


The coalition wrote to Alex Azar, contending, "These programs are essential to our national defense".


On March 2,2020, Alex Azar was criticized for unpreparedness that may have accelerated the spread of the virus.


Alex Azar argued that the pharmaceutical industry was best poised to discover, manufacture, and market a vaccine for coronavirus.


On January 12,2021, Alex Azar announced that HHS would be releasing remaining stockpiles of vaccine to states; however, at the time of the announcement, all stockpiles had already been exhausted.


In September 2020, Alex Azar forbade health agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration, from making new rules on foods, medicines, medical devices, or other products, including vaccines, without his permission.


Alex Azar said the trip was to convey Trump's support for Taiwan's leadership in global health, reiterate US support for Taiwan, and cooperate on global health and health safety issues.


On January 12,2021, Alex Azar submitted his letter of resignation, effective January 20.


In 2022, Alex Azar was co-defendant in a civil rights suit in the Ninth Circuit Court seeking to compel the CDC to publish mortality statistics in which COVID-19 was unequivocally the primary cause of death.


Alex Azar is of Lebanese, Ukrainian, English, and Swiss descent.


Alex Azar served for two years on the board of HMS Holdings.


Alex Azar 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.


Alex Azar 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.


In 2020, Alex Azar revealed he has celiac disease while discussing a US Food and Drug Administration rule related to gluten-free labeling for fermented foods.