Monday, May 07, 2007

Ex-Bush official hired at Lilly

Lilly's hometown newspaper
The Indianpolis Star
Ex-Bush official hired at Lilly

Azar to help manage drug maker's image and direct its lobbying amid surge in lawsuits

May 5, 2007
By John Russell

With government scrutiny of the drug industry on the rise, Eli Lilly and Co. is turning to a former senior official in the Bush administration to help shape its public image and oversee lobbying efforts.

The Indianapolis drug maker said Friday it hired Alex M. Azar II as senior vice president of corporate affairs and communication, reporting directly to Chief Executive Sidney Taurel.

Azar will be responsible for public relations, governmental affairs, public-policy planning and development, external and internal communications, corporate branding and community relations.

Until Feb. 3, Azar was deputy secretary of Health and Human Services, serving as chief operating officer for two years.

In that role, he oversaw such agencies as the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Azar takes over the Lilly post as seven states are suing the pharmaceutical company, alleging that it promoted off-label uses for Zyprexa, its top-selling drug approved for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Like other pharmaceutical companies, Lilly also faces an array of public- policy challenges, including criticism that it is too cozy with doctors and regulators.

Azar, a lawyer, once served as a clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Before entering government, he was a partner at the Washington law firm of Wiley, Rein & Fielding.

Azar succeeds Anne Nobles, who will be vice president for compliance and enterprise risk management, serving as Lilly's chief compliance officer. She will continue to report to Taurel.

Call Star reporter John Russell at (317) 444-6283.



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