Billy Tauzin, president of PhRMA, said he is resigning following internal issues within the trade group and its deal with the White House, which brokered the pharmaceutical industry's support of healthcare reform.
As part of the deal, PhRMA endorsed reform (notably in its communications and advertising efforts) in exchange for a deal where the cost of reform for drugmakers would be limited to $80 billion over a 10-year period.
The New Republic writes: "But it also bothered critics on the right, including some drug industry executives, who felt it countenanced too much government intervention while poisoning relations with PhRMA's traditional allies in the Republican Party. Tauzin's sudden departure, at a time when reform's prospects are shaky, has the look and feel of an ouster at the hands of these executives ..."
Sources also told The National Journal that they believe some of the organization's senior staff, including Ken Johnson, SVP of communications and public affairs for PhRMA, will leave, as well.
PhMRA spent more than $100 million in advertising support reform, including the return of the iconic "Harry and Louise" ads.