John Castellani, head of the Business Roundtable, will become the U.S. drug industry’s top lobbyist.
The Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America, a lobbying group based in Washington, named Castellani president and chief executive officer. He will start Sept. 1, the organization said today in a statement.
Castellani will succeed Billy Tauzin, who said in February that he would retire from PhRMA after running the group since 2005. Castellani has led the Business Roundtable, a Washington-based lobbying and advocacy group for CEOs, since May 2001. The Business Roundtable has been critical of the Obama administration’s stances on financial regulatory proposals, trade issues and the health-care overhaul, saying those policies may hurt economic growth.
Castellani said he will focus on innovation, “smart implementation” of the health-care legislation passed earlier this year, and working to make improvements to the law on issues affecting the pharmaceutical industry where necessary. The elimination of a prescription-drug coverage gap known as the donut hole is an important aspect of the overhaul, he said today in a conference call with reporters.
“This is something that we think is a great benefit to patients and to people who depend on this program,” Castellani said. “It needs to be done quickly and smartly so it realizes that potential.”
Before becoming president and CEO of the Business Roundtable, Castellani was an executive vice president of Tenneco Inc., an automotive-equipment maker based in Lake Forest, Illinois. Tauzin served as a member of Congress from Louisiana for 25 years before becoming PhRMA’s chief.