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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tauzin for Hire

The Huffington Post reports on Billy Tauzin, former head of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.
Now, Tauzin is weighing in against his old allies. In July, he quietly announced he had become co-chair of a new lobby group squaring off with the pharmaceutical industry, called the Medicine Access and Compliance Coalition. It's a collection of health care providers advocating for lower drug prices through what's known as the 340B program.
Tauzin's switch from pro- to anti-PhRMA is the fourth major shift in his career, quite possibly a record for Washington flexibility. Elected to the House of Representatives in 1980 as a Democrat from Louisiana, Tauzin switched parties after the 1994 electoral wave brought the GOP to power; he was allowed to keep his seniority. The move enabled him to become chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. From that perch, he led the successful charge for the controversial Medicare prescription drug benefit in 2003. Barely a year later, he became a poster child of the revolving door by quitting Congress to work for PhRMA at a multimillion-dollar salary. In 2009, he took what had been a partisan Republican organization and flipped it into a Democratic ally, cutting a deal with the administration and spending $150 million to prop up Obamacare.
Tauzin's final -- or, at least, his most recent -- flip began in July 2011, when he registered to lobby on behalf of CaptureRx, which helps 340B clients maximize revenue from the drug companies and the federal government. The firm's software promises to "lower drug costs through innovative pharmacy benefit management," according to one company document. CaptureRx paid Tauzin Consultants $50,000 for three months in 2011, according to lobbying disclosure forms.