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Alex M. Azar II

Former President, Lilly USA, LLC, Eli Lilly and Company; Former Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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As former President of Eli Lily’s U.S. business, key health care adviser in the George W. Bush administration, top-level official at the Department of Health and Human Services and now as Chairman of Seraphim Strategies, LLC, Alex Azar has been at the forefront of healthcare business and policy in the United States for much of the last two decades. His unique understanding of such a complex issue allows him to provide a prescient analysis of where health care reform is going and how we got to where we are.

Azar’s keen presentation of healthcare and business markets allows him to lay out not just the challenges, but also the solutions. His audiences will walk away with a sophisticated understanding of the headlining issue.

Featured Videos

Alex Azar | Veeva Summit

Alex Azar at MIT Sloan BioInnovations 2014

Alex Azar | University of Maryland Eastern Shore

Alex Azar served for five years (2012-2017) as President of Lilly USA, LLC, the largest affiliate of global biopharmaceutical leader Eli Lilly and Company, producing over $10 billion in revenue, almost half of Lilly’s global revenue (2016). Azar’s responsibilities included direction over Lilly USA, LLC, the legal entity that houses the sales, marketing, and payer operations of the company’s entire U.S. commercial business: the U.S. Biomedicines, Diabetes, and Oncology business units. He also directly led U.S. Biomedicines, the affiliate’s largest division, encompassing the areas of neuroscience, cardiovascular health, men’s health, musculoskeletal, autoimmune disease, Alzheimer’s disease, pain, and Managed Healthcare Services.

Azar previously served as vice president of Lilly’s U.S. Managed Healthcare Services and Puerto Rico from 2009-2011. He joined Lilly in 2007 as senior vice president of corporate affairs and communications.

Before his tenure at Lilly, Azar was the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2005-2007), where he was the number two official and chief operating officer for the largest civilian cabinet department in the U.S. government, with a budget of $698 billion and more than 66,000 employees reporting up to him. From 2001-2005, he served HHS as General Counsel.

Azar earned a bachelor’s degree summa cum laude in government and economics from Dartmouth College in 1988, and a law degree from Yale University in 1991. After law school, he clerked for Associate Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court of the United States.

As he explores new leadership opportunities, Azar formed Seraphim Strategies, LLC, which provides strategic consulting and counsel on the biopharmaceutical and health insurance industries, including biopharmaceutical sales, marketing, pricing, reimbursement, access, and distribution, as well as federal and state healthcare policy.

Azar serves on the boards of HMS Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ: HMSY), the American Council on Germany (Chairman of the Strategic Planning Committee), and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. He previously served on the Boards of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) (Executive Committee and Co-Chairman of the Reimbursement Committee), the Healthcare Leadership Council (Treasurer), the National Association of Manufacturers, and the Indianapolis Airport Authority (Chairman of the Human Resources Committee). He lives in Indianapolis with his wife and two children.

Alex Azar has been at the forefront of health care business and policy in the United States for much of the last two decades – first as a top-level official at the Department of Health and Human Services, key health care adviser in the George W. Bush Administration and recent President of Eli Lilly’s U.S. business. He brings this deep expertise to bear as he explains why the Affordable Care Act has failed to deliver on its promise of universal insurance coverage, choice of healthcare providers, lower premiums, and higher quality care. With keen understanding of the insurance markets from his time as a key player designing and launching Medicare Advantage and Part D and his time as a senior business leader working at the intersection of health plans, pharmacy benefit managers, and pharmaceutical manufacturers, Azar dissects flaws in the original design of the program, mistakes made in its implementation, and lays out the likely path forward for Repeal and Replace by the new Republican majority. Hear from one of the key free-market oriented thought leaders on the past, present, and future of healthcare reform. Audiences will walk away with a sophisticated understanding of the current debate and a prescient analysis of where health care is going during a time insurers, hospital and health systems, pharmacy benefit managers, medical technology companies, health care providers, and pharmaceutical manufacturers are all trying to make the environmental assumptions on which to base their strategic business planning.

Alex Azar, most recently President of Eli Lilly’s U.S. business and before that Deputy Secretary of HHS for President Bush, brings a unique take to the current drug pricing debate. In these remarks, Alex explains why we are having this debate today, explodes some common misconceptions about drug pricing, and offers solutions to help make medicines more affordable to patients without undermining our culture of biopharmaceutical innovation.  Audiences will walk away with a level of understanding and sophistication beyond the headlines on this complex issue that few have, will gain a unique understanding as to how the drug distribution and reimbursement channel works, will learn policy and business prescriptions to make drugs more affordable for patients, and will be able to consider more effectively the future implications of this issue for the pharmaceutical industry, for health care providers, and for pharmacy benefit managers.

Alex Azar brings a unique perspective to the issue of biopharmaceutical innovation and drug development, having led FDA, NIH, and CMS as parts of his portfolio as Deputy Secretary of HHS for President Bush and then as a business leader over all of U.S. commercial operations for pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly.  In these remarks, Alex educates the audience on drug discovery and development and explains why we have seen so few personalized products despite of repeated promises. He then lays out the challenges that personalized medicines pose for our current regulatory and reimbursement environment. Finally, he critiques the unrealistic expectations payers and providers have regarding personalized medicine, stemming from their lack of understanding of the drug development process. Audience members will walk away from these remarks with a better understanding of the promise and limitations of personalization in medicine development, the environmental limitations that stand in the way of many market opportunities for personalized products, and a detailed appreciation for the brewing conflict among payers, patients, and pharmaceutical companies with regard to access to new therapies.

Alex Azar, long-time President of Eli Lilly’s commercial operations in the United States and former U.S. Deputy Secretary of HHS, discusses lessons learned from his historic tenure as President of Lilly USA, LLC, steering the affiliate through the largest patent cliff in pharmaceutical history. During his tenure, Lilly lost $4 billion of revenue as it lost patent exclusivity, laid off a large percent of its organization and reorganized repeatedly, yet it delivered ever-increasing employee engagement, industry-leading customer loyalty, volume-driven growth of key brands with decreased headcount and operating expense and increasing profit. How? Alex will discuss how a focus on the “service value chain” drove increased employee engagement, enhanced customer loyalty, and superb business results. He will explain the critical role of a well-defined Mission, Vision, Strategy, and execution framework to align all employees to the work of a business, give meaning and purpose to their contributions, and build resilience of employees even in times of change and uncertainty. And he will explain how reduced spending and headcount unleashed creativity and focus to enable achievement of this strategy. Business leaders in the audience will come away with a renewed sense of how to best manage their organizations, even in lean times, to help keep their workplaces aligned and focused.