Rep. Henry Waxman's decision to step down at year end, along with Rep. John Dingell's retirement and Sen. Max Baucus' appointment as ambassador to China, leaves a deep hole in the Democratic Party's institutional memory on issues related to healthcare in general and FDA in particular.

But more than any other legislator, Waxman has sculpted the U.S. healthcare landscape over the last 40 years, championing legislation that created the generic drug industry, Orphan Drug incentives, and access to AIDS drugs.