Will new PhRMA chief turn right?

What will the new PhRMA look like? A Wall Street Journal article asks this question, suggesting that the industry lobby may turn sharply toward the Republican party now that the outspoken ex-Rep. Billy Tauzin (photo) is gone and a seasoned business lobbyist prepares to take his place.

Tauzin led something of an overhaul at PhRMA. The WSJ credits him with pushing drugmakers to expand patient assistance programs and establish relationships with former foes, such as labor leaders and Democrats.

He also led the charge toward that now-infamous $80 billion cost-cutting healthcare reform deal drugmakers inked with the Senate and White House. PhRMA's fight for the reform bill alienated some Republicans; party leaders scolded the association, and at least one has demanded that its leaders ask for forgiveness.

So, will PhRMA's incoming leader, John Castellani (photo) of the Business Roundtable, try to reorient the association toward the Republican party? Tauzin hopes not. "It took a long time to turn this big ship around," he tells the WSJ. "My advice is: Don't try to turn it back."

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