March 29, 2018
Secretary Azar Announces Appointments to Advance Department Priorities
On Thursday, HHS Secretary Alex Azar announced the appointment of two individuals to lead initiatives in areas he has identified as priorities for the Department. Secretary Azar has previously identified four initiatives for his transformation agenda: combating the opioid crisis; bringing down the high cost of prescription drugs; addressing the cost and availability of health insurance; and transforming our healthcare system to a value-based system. The individuals who will be taking key roles on opioids and prescription drug pricing are:
- Daniel M. Best will be Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Drug Pricing Reform. Mr. Best will lead the initiative to lower the high price of prescription drugs.
- Brett Giroir, M.D., will, in addition to his duties as Assistant Secretary for Health, serve as Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Mental Health and Opioid Policy. Dr. Giroir will be responsible for coordinating HHS’s efforts across the Administration to fight America’s opioid crisis.
“Under President Trump, HHS has an historic opportunity to confront a number of America’s pressing health challenges, including the high price of prescription drugs and our country’s opioid crisis,” said Secretary Azar. “These leaders will play a unique role at HHS in driving coordination and results on these vital issues.”
“Daniel Best recognizes what President Trump and I, and every American know: prescription drug prices are too high. He has the deep experience necessary to design and enact reforms to lower the price of medicines that help Americans live healthier and longer lives.
“Brett Giroir, our Assistant Secretary for Health, will use his exceptional talents to tackle our country’s crisis of opioid addiction and overdose. His experience coordinating major projects within the federal government will bring new focus to our efforts on this issue.
“These two leaders will be invaluable to HHS and will advance the good work already being done at the Department serve the American people.”
Leaders for healthcare payment reform and value-based transformation of the healthcare system, will be announced in the coming weeks.
Daniel M. Best, Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Drug Pricing Reform
A highly accomplished, top-performing healthcare industry executive, Daniel Best is an expert on both the pharmaceutical landscape and the largest single payer for prescription drugs, the Medicare Part D program. Best recently served as the Corporate Vice President of Industry Relations for CVSHealth’s Medicare Part D business. This included the company’s prescription drug plans, Medicare Part D plans, and other clients, which together provide prescription drug coverage for millions of Americans. Prior to working at CVS, Best spent 12 years at Pfizer Pharmaceuticals.
Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir, M.D., Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Mental Health and Opioid Policy
Dr. Brett Giroir is HHS’s Assistant Secretary for Health, a role he will continue. He is a four-star admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. Dr. Giroir is the former Director of the Defense Science Office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and has spent his career leading major projects for academic institutions and the U.S. Departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, and Veterans Affairs. He has been recognized for his novel approach to using biomedical advancements that have accelerated the development and manufacturing of vaccines and other treatments for pandemic influenza and emerging infectious diseases.