Tauzin ‘Weeks Away’ From Decision on Whether To Take PhRMA Position, Spokesperson Says
House Energy and Commerce Chair Billy Tauzin (R-La.) is "weeks away" from announcing a decision about whether he will leave Congress to head the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, according to Tauzin spokesperson Ken Johnson, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports (Walsh, New Orleans Times-Picayune, 1/27). PhRMA President and CEO Alan Holmer, who has served as the pharmaceutical industry lobbying group's president since 1996, earlier this month announced that he would resign after a successor is chosen later this year (California Healthline, 1/26). Johnson said that "there is no deal with PhRMA," adding, "Nothing has changed. [Tauzin] is still chairman of the committee." Johnson said that Tauzin will go to Philadelphia for the annual Republican retreat scheduled to start Thursday, adding, "Things are going to be quiet for a few weeks" (Wegner/Jacobson, CongressDaily, 1/26). In a press release, Democratic presidential candidate retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark said that it is "unconscionable and wrong" that Tauzin, one of the authors of the recently passed Medicare bill (HR 1), "is receiving a payoff in the form of a lucrative position as chief lobbyist for the pharmaceutical industry." However, Johnson said, "No one at any time during the Medicare debate approached [Tauzin] about a position at PhRMA. It never happened" (New Orleans Times-Picayune, 1/27).
After the passage of the new Medicare law, John McManus, the majority staff director of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health, will leave on Feb. 6 to start his own consulting firm, CongressDaily reports. The new firm, The McManus Group, "soon should be swamped with clients" because as lead staff negotiator, McManus understands the "labyrinthine" law, according to CongressDaily (CongressDaily, 1/27).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.