yRetiring U.S. Rep. Billy Tauzin (search), who left his post as head of the House committee that regulates the pharmaceutical industry earlier this year, will become head of the industry's top lobbying group next month.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America made the announcement of Tauzin's hiring on Wednesday. Tauzin's spokesman, Ken Johnson, confirmed the hiring, but said he had no immediate comment.

Earlier this year, Tauzin had been talking with the trade group about a post-Congress job, but his negotiations were widely criticized by Democrats and government watchdog groups.

Tauzin had been chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee (search), which regulates the pharmaceutical industry (search).

After 13 terms, Tauzin, a Republican, did not seek re-election this year to Louisiana's 3rd Congressional District seat. His son, Billy Tauzin III, ran as a Republican for the seat, but was narrowly defeated by Democrat Charles Melancon.

In a statement, PhRMA chairman Miles White called Tauzin "a leader that embodies action." Tauzin will replace Alan Holmer, who announced his retirement earlier in 2004.

Tauzin underwent cancer surgery earlier this year to have a tumor removed from his small intestine and was declared cancer-free after his release.