Tauzin to head drug trade group
From Ted Barrett
CNN Washington Bureau
December 15, 2004

  WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Retiring U.S. Rep. Billy Tauzin, former House Commerce Committee chairman and a principal architect of the prescription drug benefit for Medicare, will become the new president and CEO of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturing Association, two sources said Wednesday.
  The organization is the powerful trade association for the brand name drug companies.
  Tauzin turned down the job in February after Democrats complained of a conflict of interest. However, he reconsidered the offer in early December, according to a source close to Tauzin.
  Tauzin, who was diagnosed with a treatable intestinal cancer in March, decided to accept the job over the weekend after considering two other offers to join Washington lobbying firms.
  "He put everything on hold until he beat the cancer and made his last vote," said the source, who asked not to be identified.
  "It's not a conflict. It maybe [was] fair criticism when he was chairman of the Commerce Committee, but he's no longer a member of Congress. He's 61, had a near-death experience, and he's got a right to go out and make a living."
  The source said Tauzin wants to be a "patient-advocate CEO."
  "These aren't boogeymen," the source said, complaining that the drug industry is often unfairly compared to tobacco companies and the Indian gaming industry.
  "Billy sees it as his calling to turn that image around. He's going to be a different kind of president."
  Democrat Charles Melancon will replace Tauzin, who served 12 terms in the House. The congressman's son, Billy Tauzin III, who ran against Melancon, recently conceded the race.