Big Tobacco Claims FDA Members are Drug Industry Supporters

Sunday, March 06, 2011
Dr. Jonathan Samet
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is being accused of putting experts with a conflict of interest on a science advisory committee that reviews cigarettes. The matter arose in litigation filed by two tobacco companies, Lorillard and R.J. Reynolds, which have sued the FDA and the Department of Health and Human Services over the composition of the FDA’s Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC). The cigarette makers claim that three of eight members of the committee and three of twelve members of a relevant subcommittee serve as “paid expert witnesses in litigation against tobacco-product manufacturers” and are employed as “consultants for ... large pharmaceutical companies that manufacture nicotine-replacement-therapy products and other smoking-cessation products.” One of three, Dr. Jonathan M. Samet, is chairman of the TPSAC. On Wednesday, March 2, President Barack Obama also appointed Samet to the National Cancer Advisory Board.
The plaintiffs feel the experts have a financial interest in seeing tobacco products fail, and therefore have no business being on the committees.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Big Tobacco Claims FDA Members are Drug Industry Supporters (by Ryan Abbott, Courthouse News Service)
Lorillard and RJ Reynolds v. FDA (U.S. District Court, District of Columbia) (pdf)


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