Philip-Morris Smoking over Conflicts of Interest on FDA Tobacco Panel

by GoozNews ~ 30 Apr 2010 08:21am
I’m for eliminating advisers with conflicts of interest from FDA advisory panels. I spent five years of my professional life advocating for that position. But finding myself in bed with the tobacco industry is a tad uncomfortable. The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that Altria’s Philip Morris subsidiary is objecting to four members of the FDA’s new tobacco advisory panel because they served as expert witnesses for plaintiffs who filed suit against the tobacco industry. Jonathan Samet at the University of Southern California, who chairs the committee, also advises companies that make smoking cessation products.

Public Health Experts and Industry Representatives Disagree on Regulation of Menthol Cigarettes

By Matt McMillen
WebMD Health News

Reviewed By Laura J. Martin, MD

March 31, 2010 — Representatives from three major tobacco companies, speaking before a committee tasked with advising the federal government on tobacco regulation, defended menthol cigarettes against charges that they put smokers’ health at greater risk than regular cigarettes.

“Menthol does not make cigarettes more harmful,” says William R. True, senior vice president of Lorillard, the maker of the best-selling menthol cigarette, Newport. Representatives from R.J. Reynolds and Altria, the parent company of Philip Morris USA, also spoke.

CRE Testifies Before FDA Tobacco Advisory Committee

CRE testified before the FDA Tobacco Advisory Committee.   The CRE testimony highlighted the FDA domination of the activities of the TPSAC.  To rectify FDA domination, CRE made three recommendations:

l.  Governance Procedures

CRE stated that TPSAC is an operating arm of the FDA since it reviews most significant issues before the FDA under the new tobacco statute, including every request under the reduced harm provisions of the statute.

Consequently public participation with the activities of the TPSAC should not be confined to the too infrequent TPSAC meetings.  To this end, TPSAC should publish for public comment the procedures to be  followed for public participation.