Lawsuit to probe membership of FDA’s tobacco products advisory committee

| January 4, 2013

US District Court Judge, Richard Leon, has allowed a lawsuit seeking an injunction by R.J. Reynolds and Lorillard Tobacco to proceed against the Food and Drug Administration’s Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC), according to a Heartland Institute report.

The lawsuit alleges a conflict of interest on the scientific panel.

FDA officials asked JudgeLeonto deny the request but the judge rebuffed their claim, noting in his ruling: “the limited number of viewpoints on these issues”, “the scientific as opposed to the political nature of those viewpoints, and the distinct responsibilities of the committee.”

At issue is the membership of the TPSAC, which was created after passage of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

TPSAC has eight members, three of whom allegedly present a conflict of interest with pharmaceutical companies that could benefit from anti-smoking regulations.

Under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, members of such committees may not have an interest in activities in which the committee is involved. Such interest includes stock holdings or contracts with companies that may be affected by the committee’s recommendations.

But the FDA commissioner, Margaret Hamburg, has refused to remove the three members after repeated requests for her to do so from industry and government ethics groups.

Category: Breaking News

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