President & CEO
Billy Tauzin was named president and chief executive officer of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) in January 2005 and immediately took up two of the most important causes of his career: To help ensure patients everywhere continue to have access to the miracles of medicines, and to ensure that innovative biopharmaceutical research thrives, improving and saving lives everywhere.
He knows firsthand what patients face as they search for hope, treatment and cures having recently battled cancer himself. This unique insight guides his leadership as PhRMA president where he is helping to develop solutions to America’s health care challenges so patients now and in the future have the medicines they need.
Throughout a long and distinguished public service career, including 13 terms representing the people of the 3rd Congressional District of Louisiana, Billy Tauzin exhibited a class and leadership style that made him a standout among our nation’s elected officials. As a Member of Congress, he was called “knowledgeable and eloquent” by the Almanac of American Politics and “one of the House's savviest members” by National Journal Magazine.
Billy Tauzin began his public service career in the Louisiana State Legislature where he served in a variety of distinguished posts such as Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee and Chief Administration Floor Leader. He was chosen twice as one of Louisiana's "Ten Best Legislators."
He was first elected to the U.S. House in 1980 as a Democrat. Because his conservative views increasingly led him to vote with GOP House members despite his Democratic affiliation, he switched parties in 1995. In 1998, he joined with House Majority Leader Dick Armey to propose a revamping of the tax code.
While in Congress, he held several leadership positions, beginning with his chairmanship of a Merchant Marine Subcommittee, which oversaw legislation related to the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska. In September 1995 he was named Deputy Majority Whip; he is the first American to have been part of the leadership of both parties in the House. In an effort to promote a spirit of bipartisan cooperation on Capitol Hill, he co-founded and served as Co-Chairman of the Mainstream Conservative Alliance, better known as Republican "Blue Dogs."
Until February, 2004, he served as the Chairman of the influential House Committee on Energy and Commerce, which has jurisdiction over all interstate and foreign commerce, including energy, telecommunications, health care, biomedical research, consumer protection, the environment and travel and tourism. During his tenure, he left his mark on issues ranging from natural gas, airline, trucking and electricity deregulation to the Clean Air Act, Superfund and the historic Telecommunications Reform Act of 1996. In addition, he was the original author of the Securities Litigation Reform Act and the Cable Act – the only bills over the past decade to become law despite a Presidential veto. As chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, he helped President George W. Bush win passage of a Medicare prescription drug bill.
Suffering health problems that led him to re-evaluate his life, Tauzin announced in February 2004 that he would not run for another term. Over the years, Tauzin has been honored by such diverse groups as the Chamber of Commerce, Farm Bureau, National Federal of Independent Business, B'nai B'rith, Concord Coalition, Business Software Alliance, National Association of Manufacturers, Christian Coalition, Boy Scouts of America, National Association of Broadcasters, the 3rd Congressional District Black Caucus, and many more.
Billy Tauzin received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Nicholls State University in 1964 and a Law Degree from Louisiana State University in 1967. He is married to Cecile Tauzin and has five children by a previous marriage.