In an emotional farewell address to PhRMA, President Billy Tauzin recapped his five years at the helm of the organization and his efforts to “recapture the value of the PhRMA brand” and to “re-earn the trust of people who had lost faith in us.” “We had to take the target off our backs—to wear a goodwill badge instead of a bull’s eye—and to prove our commitment to patients by our deeds, not just our words.”
He explained his support for health care reform, noting that instead of remaining “a one-party trade association, …we correctly reasoned that our only real enemy was disease and that only a fair and less partisan PhRMA would allow us to continue our work in the face of mounting and increasingly ugly partisan conflicts here in DC and around the country. That transition to a more balanced politics, while difficult then and now, continues to serve our critical mission. It was the right thing to do, and we would be wrong to let either national party determine our policies or our principles into the future.”
Tauzin warned industry leaders that the life-saving work of pharma companies “will never be fully appreciated. Face it and accept it. But know this for yourselves: yours is not just about a life in business; yours is the real business of life.”
While the public may not understand the important work of pharma, Tauzin pointed to regulators who “should know better. It’s no excuse for health care bureaucrats who don’t even begin to understand the pain that real patients and their families experience waiting helplessly for an on-time decision on a new promising medicine or therapy, only to read about missed deadlines, unnecessary delays and bureaucratic barriers, all based on an increasingly excessive risk-averse premise. We need—we desperately need better balance here.
“And it’s no excuse for policymakers who can’t seem to recognize that life science research is the cornerstone of medical innovation and a huge part of our knowledge-based economy. Do we have to lose every last job in America before somebody connects the dots and calculates the losses?”
“It’s certainly no excuse for those who say nothing about the ads calling for more lawsuits against the products of medical innovation and then rail against an ad that informs patients about the warning signs of disease and the new options for treatment. Something is wrong in America when we make heroes of trial attorneys and villains of our medical scientists.”