Alex Azar II, Son of Ophthalmologist, is New Secretary of Health and Human Services

February 2, 2018: By Joan McKenna

Alex Azar II

Alex Azar II, the son of ophthalmologist Alex Azar, MD, is the new secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services.

The Senate confirmed Azar’s nomination Jan. 24.

The senior Azar has practiced ophthalmology in Salisbury, Maryland, since 1976 and teaches at Johns Hopkins. He told a local paper that his son’s appointment is the epitome of the American dream, given that his father immigrated to the US from Lebanon 100 years ago.

The new secretary, 50, worked at Lilly USA from 2007 to January 2017, ascending to the role of president. He served as general counsel and deputy secretary in Health and Human Services in the George W. Bush administration.

He earned a law degree from Yale, then clerked for Judge Antonin Scalia in an appeals court. He also worked under special prosecutor Ken Starr in the early years of the Whitewater investigation.

Sen. Rand Paul, MD, an ophthalmologist from Kentucky, was the only GOP member to vote against Azar’s nomination. Paul said he couldn’t back confirmation unless Azar showed he was open to the idea of allowing drugs to be imported from other countries where they often cost much less.


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