Dan Best, senior drug pricing official at HHS, dies

Dan Best, the official spearheading the Trump Administration's efforts to lower drug prices, has died, the agency announced on Thursday.

In a statement, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said it's been a "privilege" to work with Best, senior adviser on drug pricing reform, over the past decade.

"He joined me here at HHS out of a desire to serve the American people by making healthcare more affordable," Azar said. "He brought his deep expertise and passion to this task with great humility and collegiality.

"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.”

Azar tapped Best to oversee the agency's drug pricing policy in March. Best spent 12 years with Pfizer before joining CVS Health as corporate vice president for industry relations at its Part D arm.

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The administration unveiled its drug pricing plan in May, and since then it has undertaken a series of ambitious steps, such as announcing it would force pharmaceutical companies to list drug prices in ads, under Best's leadership.

The release from HHS did not disclose a cause of death. 

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement that Best was "a remarkable member of our team."

"What a loss to our country and to all of us personally who had the great privilege of working with Dan," Verma said. "We appreciate his dedication and commitment, and his warmth, sincerity, and generosity came through in everything he did.

"We will miss Dan dearly, and we express our sincerest condolences to the entire Best family.”

This is a developing story.