PhRMA Head Billy Tauzin Quits as Health Reform Stumbles

February 12, 2010

(ChattahBox)—-Billy Tauzin, president of the pharmaceutical industry’s major trade group, known as PhRMA is resigning from his post, according to several media reports. Tauzin, one of the highest paid lobbyists in Washington and a former Congressman from Louisiana, apparently became embroiled in internal disputes with other PhRMA officials, after the organization struck a controversial deal with the White House to help propel the passage of health care reform. With the election of Republican Scott Brown in the Senate to fill the late Ted Kennedy’s seat, depriving the Democratic caucus of its 60 member filibuster-proof majority, healthcare reform is now in limbo.

Tauzin struck the PhRMA deal with the White House and Sen. Max Baucus, (D-Mont.) chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, to limit the drug industry’s total costs under the healthcare reform bill to $80 billion over 10 years. And in return Tauzin spent more than $100 million on a media campaign supporting the bill.

The deal drew criticism from Democrats, as giving too much away to the pharmaceutical industry and the industry condemned it as giving too much away to the White House.

According to The New York Times, PhRMA still supports a reform of the nation’s broken health insurance system.

“Christopher A. Viehbacher, a board member of PhRMA and chief executive of Sanofi-Aventis, said in an interview on Wednesday that he still held hope the health care package could pass Congress. “The most important thing to me in this whole process is that PhRMA was not the bad guy,” he said, adding, “It has not been without its political cost because it is actually difficult to be bipartisan in all of this.”

See The New York Times for more.


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