Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.) has withdrawn from negotiations to become the new head of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America after reports of his talks with the trade group drew criticism. Tauzin, who has announced he won't seek re-election after 24 years in Congress, did not want to end his congressional career under a cloud of suspicion, said his spokesman, Ken Johnson. However, there is a chance he may renew negotiations with PhRMA after leaving Congress, Johnson said. PhRMA officials declined to comment on the matter. Tauzin, who recently resigned his position as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, was instrumental in negotiating the new Medicare reform law and prescription drug benefit. Democrats and consumer groups say it's improper of him to consider the PhRMA position, given his role in the Medicare negotiations. -- by Tony Fong
Tauzin ends talks with PhRMA, at least for now
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