In yet another attempt to make nice with the new regime in Washington, PhRMA chief Billy Tauzin pledged to be "part of the solution" to healthcare reform. During a press conference yesterday, Tauzin said PhRMA would be rooting for healthcare reform, lobbying for it in partnership with "others in the healthcare sector."
Echoing President-elect Barack Obama, Tauzin linked healthcare reform with a healthier economy. "[It's] not a luxury; it is essential to economic recovery," he said.
Of course, Tauzin has his own spin on pharma-friendly healthcare reform. Insurers should cover prescription drugs more broadly, he said, as part of a comprehensive overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system. Insuring everyone isn't good enough; coverage has to extend to "the things you ought to get in healthcare"--and that includes prescription drugs. Naturally.
Tauzin wouldn't say whether he or any of his staff has met with the Obama transition team. But he did say PhRMA will be part of the reform debate. The drug industry certainly has ponied up lots of money to ensure a seat at that table: More than half of pharma's campaign contributions this election cycle went to Democrats, compared with just 30 percent in 2006.