Tag Archives: Alex Azar

DEPT OF HHS: Robert Redfield Sworn In As CDC Director On Monday

HHS Secretary Azar to Name Robert R. Redfield, M.D., Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

On Wednesday, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that Secretary Alex Azar will name Robert R. Redfield, M.D., as the 18th Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

Upon the announcement, Secretary Azar issued the following statement:

“Dr. Redfield has dedicated his entire life to promoting public health and providing compassionate care to his patients, and we are proud to welcome him as director of the world’s premier epidemiological agency. Dr. Redfield’s scientific and clinical background is peerless: As just one example, during his two-decade tenure at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, he made pioneering contributions to advance our understanding of HIV/AIDS. His more recent work running a treatment network in Baltimore for HIV and Hepatitis C patients also prepares him to hit the ground running on one of HHS and CDC’s top priorities, combating the opioid epidemic.”

“Furthermore, all of us at HHS are grateful to Dr. Anne Schuchat for her service as Acting Director at CDC, especially during this year’s severe flu season. We look forward to CDC continuing its important work on the opioid epidemic and America’s many other pressing public health challenges.”

Biographical Background

Dr. Robert R. Redfield has been a public health leader actively engaged in clinical research and clinical care of chronic human viral infections and infectious diseases, especially HIV, for more than 30 years.

He served as the founding director of the Department of Retroviral Research within the U.S. Military’s HIV Research Program, and retired after 20 years of service in the U.S. Army Medical Corps. Following his military service, he co-founded the University of Maryland’s Institute of Human Virology with Dr. William Blattner and Dr. Robert C. Gallo and served as the Chief of Infectious Diseases and Vice Chair of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Dr. Redfield made several important early contributions to the scientific understanding of HIV, including the demonstration of the importance of heterosexual transmission, the development of the Walter Reed staging system for HIV infection, and the demonstration of active HIV replication in all stages of HIV infection.

In addition to his research work, Dr. Redfield oversaw an extensive clinical program providing HIV care and treatment to more than 5,000 patients in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. community.

Dr. Redfield served as a member of the President’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS from 2005 to 2009, and was appointed as Chair of the International Subcommittee from 2006 to 2009.

He is a past member of the Office of AIDS Research Advisory Council at the National Institutes of Health, the Fogarty International Center Advisory Board at the National Institutes of Health, and the Advisory Anti-Infective Agent Committee of the Food and Drug Administration.

Originally posted on HHS

BREAKING: BRENDA FITZGERALD RESIGNS AS CDC CHIEF

“I take it back!” Brenda Fitzgerald being sworn into office.

Brenda Fitzgerald resigns as CDC director.

Statement from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Regarding CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald

“This morning Secretary Azar accepted Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald’s resignation as Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Dr. Fitzgerald owns certain complex financial interests that have imposed a broad recusal limiting her ability to complete all of her duties as the CDC Director. Due to the nature of these financial interests, Dr. Fitzgerald could not divest from them in a definitive time period.   After advising Secretary Azar of both the status of the financial interests and the scope of her recusal, Dr. Fitzgerald tendered, and the Secretary accepted, her resignation.  The Secretary thanks Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald for her service and wishes her the best in all her endeavors.”

— HHS Spokesman Matt Lloyd

Read Autism Investigated’s open letter to President Trump last summer to protest Dr. Fitzgerald’s appointment to CDC director. Selected excerpt:

If you want a genuine vaccine safety commission as you promised Robert F. Kennedy Jr., it will not work with federal agency heads all wanting to keep the status quo. You have already appointed someone to run the FDA who has testified that he will challenge you on vaccine safety. There was no major outcry then because, unlike CDC, FDA does not dictate federal vaccine policy.

Lilly Exec’s HHS Nomination Leaves Autism Problem to POTUS

Before the election, Donald Trump said of the problem that is the autism epidemic: “I’ll fix it.” He will fix it, not a surrogate.

That is all the more important to remember now that President Trump has just nominated former Lilly president Alex Azar to run HHS. Now more than ever, Trump must be held accountable for his promise.

From FiercePharma:

Ex-Eli Lilly executive Azar wins Trump’s nomination for top HHS post

by Eric Sagonowsky

President Donald Trump has picked a pharma insider to oversee the HHS. Just days after news that Trump was set to select ex-Eli Lilly executive Alex Azar for the U.S. government’s top healthcare post, he tweeted the nomination Monday morning.

Trump picked Azar for the HHS chief position above other candidates such as Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services director Seema Verma and FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, according to press reports on the selection process. Azar, who has served as an HHS deputy secretary during the George W. Bush administration and as Eli Lilly’s U.S. president, will be tasked with advancing the president’s repeal and replace push for the Affordable Care Act and ostensibly with tackling high pharmaceutical prices, an issue Trump campaigned on and has touched on during his time in the White House. But so far, critics contend the Trump Administration’s actions and proposals have only favored the industry. 


RELATED: Trump poised to nominate ex-Lilly executive Alex Azar for top HHS job: report

Trump famously said pharma is “getting away with murder,” and previously crossed party lines to endorse Medicare price negotiations. Still, drug pricing talk hasn’t gotten serious in Congress and four Congressmen wrote to the president last month to say his “inaction” on their Medicare negotiation proposal has left them with no option other than to press ahead alone.

Cowen analyst Eric Assaraf, for his part, wrote in a note seen by Business Insider that even though “Trump specifically called out lowering drug prices in his announcement of Azar, we don’t believe his appointment will mark a change in course in that realm.” After leaving Lilly as part of an executive shakeup earlier this year, Azar formed a consultancy as he explored “new leadership opportunities,” according to an online speaker profile.

Reacting to Azar’s selection, Senate Finance Committee ranking member Sen. Ron Wyden said the president “at every turn … has broken his promises to American families to lower health care costs, expand access and bring down the high price of prescription drugs.” Sen. Wyden said he’ll ask Azar to take “take decisive, meaningful action to curtail the runaway train of prescription drug costs.”

It isn’t the first time President Trump has selected an industry insider for a top government job. The president earlier this year tapped Scott Gottlieb—who was pharma’s top pick by a wide margin—for the crucial FDA commissioner post. During his time at the agency, Gottlieb has won praise for his moves to increase competition and provide relief on pricing, as well as to speed the FDA’s approval process.

Gottlieb’s name was one floated for the HHS chief position after former secretary Tom Price resigned in September, but the FDA commissioner said in a Reuters interview he felt he is “most effective” at the drug agency.

Azar’s nomination is sure to encounter more pushback. On earlier reports that the ex-Lilly executive was under consideration, Public Citizen founder Robert Weissman said if Azar wins the nod, “then Big Pharma’s coup d’etat in the healthcare sphere will be virtually complete.”

Azar has argued against drug price controls in the past, Weissman said at the time, making it “highly unlikely” he would “advance real reform” on the issue.

Eli Lilly Executive Likely To Be HHS Secretary – And No, This Is Not A Joke

Former Lilly USA President Alex Azar is likely to be appointed new HHS Secretary according to anonymous White House sources. Eli Lilly is the company that introduced thimerosal, the toxic, mercury-based vaccine preservative still used in vaccines given to children and pregnant women. It has also been proven to cause autism.

If President Trump nominates Azar for the position, it will represent a marked departure from Trump’s pre-election promises to “fix” the autism epidemic. Previously, Autism Investigated heavily protested the appointment of the current CDC director Brenda Fitzgerald. Trump also nominated Scott Gottlieb to run FDA, a major pharma shill and defender of dangerous vaccines.

Azar’s appointment would truly be a case of the revolving door coming full-circle. Before working as an executive for Eli Lilly for 10 years, Azar was deputy HHS Secretary and general counsel for HHS under the Bush Administration. Azar was at HHS when GOP Senator Bill Frist led an effort to shield Lilly from litigation while he was receiving thousands in campaign contributions.

How is it that a president who met with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. earlier this year to discuss a vaccine safety commission ends up appointing an executive from one of the biggest corporate perpetrators of vaccine injury? How is it that that same president met with Dr. Andrew Wakefield last year?

The White House had reportedly been arranging for Kennedy to meet with officials from the FDA and NIH. Not surprisingly, those agencies dismissed his concerns yet again. Does President Trump expect that having an Eli Lilly executive at the top of HHS will somehow change that? How can he take the vaccine issue seriously if he’s putting people with deep industry ties in high government positions? If Trump’s appointees are not willing to take action on this important issue, then President Trump should directly intervene.

But setting the vaccine issue aside, there is another issue with Azar running HHS: his primary support for a presidential candidate with very, very low energy.