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Ohio’s Daniel Best, who led HHS precription drug initiative, has died

November 2, 2018 GMT

Ohio’s Daniel Best, who led HHS precription drug initiative, has died

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Daniel Best, a pharmaceutical executive from Bay Village who was appointed in March to lead U.S. Department of Health and Human Services initiatives to lower prescription drug prices, has died, HHS Secretary Alex Azar announced Thursday.

Azar said said the 49-year-old former CVSHealth and Pfizer Pharmaceuticals executive agreed to work at HHS “out of a desire to serve the American people by making health care more affordable.”

“He brought his deep expertise and passion to this task with great humility and collegiality,” Azar’s statement said. “All of us who served with Dan at HHS and in the administration mourn his passing and extend our thoughts and prayers to his wife Lisa and the entire Best family at this difficult time.”

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Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma described his death as “a loss to our country and to all of us personally who had the great privilege of working with Dan.” Health insurance trade group CEO Matt Eyles of AHIP called Best “a dedicated leader who brought warmth, compassion and an unmistakable dedication to the American people to his work every single day.”

In a September speech before a pharmacy industry group, Best discussed lowering costs, making it easier for generics and biosimilar drugs to enter the market and rethinking drug rebate programs that drive up prices.

“Today, in the marketplace, everybody except the patient wins when price goes up,” said Best.

Best grew up in the Erie, Pennsylvania area and graduated from the University of Dayton, his brother, Tim, told GoErie.com.

His death comes a week after President Donald Trump announced a new drug pricing initiative that would allow Medicare to determine the price it pays for some drugs, based on the cheaper prices charged for the drugs in other countries. Trump said drugs in the United States frequently cost many times more than they do abroad.

“At long last, the drug companies and foreign countries will be held accountable for how they rigged the system against American consumers,” Trump said.