Billy Tauzin, Big Pharma’s top lobbyist, is calling it quits amid growing uncertainty regarding the national effort to reform health care, an effort he supported.
Tauzin reigned for 5 years as president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.
Last June, he bet health reform would happen and decided to cozy-up to the Democrats.
In particular, he cut a deal in which drug makers agreed to contribute $80 billion in savings over 10 years by reducing the prices of certain drugs and closing the “donut-hole” coverage gap for Medicare beneficiaries.
Soon after that, the Big O stopped advocating for the importation of cheap drugs from Canada and stopped saying the feds should negotiate Medicare drug prices directly with drug makers. He had held these positions during the presidential campaign.
The Democrats’ health reform bill also guaranteed 12 years of sales exclusivity for BioTech drugs, which is longer than many Democrats and the generic industry preferred.
Of course, all this is in limbo right now.
Tauzin’s deals with the Obama administration drew fire from business representatives and Republicans. Notably, House minority leader John Boehner called his White House deal a “short-sighted” bargain with “Big Government.”
According to Thomas Donohue, president of the Chamber of Commerce, Tauzin improved his industry’s image during his reign. When he took over, Big Pharma was reeling from drug recalls and problems with popular drugs linked to death, diseases and suicide. “Billy stabilized the drug industry,” Donohue told the Wall Street Journal.
Tauzin, a former congressman from Louisiana, collected a $2 million salary from PhRMA. His last day is June 30.