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.