Daniel Best, a former pharmaceutical executive in charge of efforts to lower prescription drug prices for the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), dies on November 1. Now, his death has been ruled a “suicide” despite the fact that the Washington D.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner noted that he died of “multiple blunt force injuries.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Nov. 1 death of Daniel Best , a pharmaceutical executive from Bay Village who led U.S. Department of Health and Human Services efforts to lower prescription drug prices, has been ruled a suicide, officials in Washington, D.C., said Thursday.
Police say Best was found “unresponsive” near the garage door exit of an apartment building in Washington, D.C.’s Navy Yard neighborhood at 5:25 a.m. on Nov. 1, and was pronounced dead by medical personnel who responded to the scene.
The city’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner on Thursday said Best died from “multiple blunt force injuries” and it ruled his death a suicide. It would not release further information.
In announcing his death, HHS Secretary Alex Azar 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’s got a real nice personality,” said former MemberHealth colleague Chuck Spinelli. “He’s not a jerk, he’s not overbearing. He’s approachable, and pharma liked him. They appreciated working with him. He was very transparent. He was very honest. He didn’t play any games.”
Best, who grew up in Erie Pennsylvania, is survived by his wife Lisa and three children.
Tyler Durden added:
A drug industry insider, Best worked for over a decade as an executive for several companies, including 12 years at Pfizer, Universal American, MemberHealth and CVS Caremark Corporation, where he made just over $500,000 per year negotiating drug prices for seniors.
His March appointment drew the ire of President Trump’s opponents, who accused his administration of becoming too close with the drug industry. Best was advising Azar – a former pharma executive and lobbyist, on drug pricing.
“He brought his deep expertise and passion to this task with great humility and collegiality,” said Azar in a statement following Best’s death. “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.”
In May, Stat reported that Best was a seasoned negotiator – however questions remained on “whether he’ll advocate for his former colleagues in the PBM world, or if, in the words of a lobbyist, he’ll show the public “where the bodies are buried“”
Best has stepped into the government in the midst of a vicious battle between PBMs and drug makers, each blaming the other for the high cost of prescription drugs. PBMs point out that the drug companies set the price. Drug makers say that PBMs effectively force the prices up through the complex rebate system. Best has an inside view into the situation.
“The most important thing I learned about the PBM industry is that every player serves a critical role in managing this complex system and we wouldn’t be talking about lowering prescription drug prices today unless PBMs had a role to play,” Best said in an email, through an HHS spokesperson. –Stat
This brings us to a very specific question, how does one commit suicide with “multiple blunt force injuries”? Did he fall? Did he continually beat himself with something till he died? Why is there no more information on his death considering the circumstances and his position? Is this another man who simply got too close to something or knew too much and was “suicided”? Or was it an actual suicide?
It seems that Mr. Best had a lot going for him and that a suicide seems very out of the ordinary for such a man.
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