Former Rep. Billy Tauzin Discusses Tasks Ahead as CEO of PhRMA
The best way for the pharmaceutical industry to improve its image is to for drug makers to "[s]top doing bad things," Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America CEO and former Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.) said at a Monday press briefing, CQ HealthBeat reports. Tauzin, speaking in one of his first interviews since he joined PhRMA four months ago, said drug companies need to strive for openness about public concerns such as drug safety issues and promote the industry's life-saving products and charitable programs. Tauzin also said he supports President Bush's proposal to establish a drug safety board within FDA to monitor drugs once they reach the market, adding that current legislative proposals to create a regulatory office with expanded authority are not necessary. "What we don't think you need to do is reinvent the wheel when it comes to all these other activities," he said of drug safety regulations.
In addition, Tauzin touted PhRMA's Partnership for Prescription Assistance drug program for the uninsured, which provides low-cost drugs and also helps people receive assistance from state and federal programs (CQ HealthBeat, 5/2). On the topic of reimporting lower-cost drugs from other nations, Tauzin said that once U.S. residents are educated about the risks involved, they will be less likely to support the practice (Shields, Baton Rouge Advocate, 5/3).
According to CQ HealthBeat, some observers have "suggested that Tauzin's credibility has suffered ... since the longtime lawmaker took the helm of PhRMA" because he was actively involved in crafting the Medicare prescription drug benefit, under which the federal government is prohibited from negotiating lower prices with drug makers. Tauzin said of the criticism, "I welcome that scrutiny and any scrutiny they want to give me" (CQ HealthBeat, 5/2).