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Drug trade group chief stands down


The head of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) has announced that he is leaving the post at the end of June.

President and chief executive of the group, Billy Tauzin, had become involved in the political uncertainty over President Barack Obama’s health care overall, which the drug association had supported on the proviso the cost to the industry would be limited in the legislation.

However, when the deal between PhRMA and the White House and Senate Democrats was announced last year it became very controversial. Mr Tauzin disclosed some details of the deal in an effort to make sure they were maintained, but White House officials had wanted them to remain private.

Under last year’s agreement, costs to the drug industry in the health overhaul legislation would have been limited to $80 billion over 10 years, much of that coming from helping close a prescription drug coverage gap in Medicare, the health insurance program for seniors.

PhRMA was spending more than $100 million on TV ads in support of the health overhaul. But liberal lawmakers, particularly in the House, wanted the drug industry to pay much more in the legislation. The House version of the bill would have laid billions more in costs on the industry.

Copyright Press Association 2010

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