New PhRMA Chief: Drug Group Will Not Be Partisan

Posted July 13, 2010 at 1:36pm

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America’s new top lobbyist signaled Tuesday that the drug industry’s brief tryst with the Democratic Party is officially over.

“This is an industry and this is an association that has a history — as I have a history — of working with both sides of the aisle,” the trade association’s new president, John Castellani, said in a conference call on Tuesday. “My style and PhRMA’s style will be to be politically relevant, not to be partisan.”

On Sept. 1, Castellani will take over for former Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.), a one-time Democratic Member who worked out an $80 billion deal with the White House that helped push its historic health care overhaul over the finish line this year. Since joining PhRMA in 2005, Tauzin also oversaw the group’s dramatic political makeover that tilted its political spending and advocacy work toward Democrats.

So far this cycle, PhRMA has given more than 70 percent of its political action committee contributions to Democrats, according to CQ MoneyLine. In contrast, the group gave 56 percent of its PAC gifts to Democrats in the 2008 cycle and just 21 percent two years prior.

“We’re not a rubber stamp for either of the political parties,” Castellani told reporters on Tuesday.

Castellani is the outgoing president of the Business Roundtable.