Billy Tauzin is a politician, lawyer and lobbyist. Of Cajun descent, he was a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1972-1979 and the United States House of Representatives from 1980-2005, representing Louisiana's 3rd congressional district. In 1994, when the Democrats lost control of the House, Tauzin helped co-found the House Blue Dog Coalition, a group of moderate-to-conservative Democrats. Still considering conservatives unwelcome in the Democratic party, however, in 1995 Tauzin became a Republican, and the first American to have been part of the leadership of both parties in the House. From 2001-2004, Tauzin served as chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee. In 2005, the same day he left Congress and two months after having helped to pass the Medicare Prescription Drug Bill, Tauzin was named director of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA, a trade group for pharmaceutical companies. Billy Tauzin is the original author of the Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1996 and the Cable Act, the only bills over the past ten years to become law despite Presidential veto. He received his BA from Nicholls State University in 1964 and his degree in law from Louisiana State University in 1967. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors for the Louisiana Healthcare Group.
Transcript:Well what I do now obviously is to . . . is to represent the policy concerns and the policy positions of the global pharmaceutical industry; not only here in this country, but in national forums across the world. We have an office in Tokyo, one in Brussels; and we’ve got representatives of ours across the world in different continents and in different countries. We have 10 offices around America. We regionally organized efforts to make sure that our policies, our positions are represented across state capitals in the 50 states. So it’s a . . . it’s a . . . it’s a major uptick, if you will, in political activity for me. Secondly our role is to help reshape the public perception of the industry. When I took over two and a half years ago after my 25 years in Congress, the industry was at a fairly low . . . it had been in terms of public approval and support. And trying to turn that around and to . . . and to demonstrate that the industry has a good heart and not just a good head; that it’s not just a bunch of research scientists trying to make products or make money; it’s also about patients and saving patient lives. That’s a big task. And being the first patient – cancer survivor – ever to head this organization has given me an opportunity, I think, to help remake if you will not only the organization, but the direction of the companies in terms of their public image and their public . . . their public responsibilities.