Court Rules FDA Can’t Use Report on Menthol Cigarettes

Bloomberg News reports a Federal judge has ordered FDA not to use an advisory board’s report on menthol cigarettes because some of the panel’s members “had conflicts of interest.” The article notes Lorillard Inc. and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. sued the agency in 2011 over the matter, alleging conflicts of interest. Bloomberg notes the FDA declined “immediate comment on the ruling,” citing Stephanie Yao, an agency spokeswoman.

The AP reports the cigarette companies’ lawsuit “specifically alleged that some committee members had conflicts of interest because they were paid expert witnesses in anti-tobacco lawsuits and had financial ties to pharmaceutical companies that make smoking-cessation products.” US District Court Judge Richard Leon in Washington “ordered the FDA on Monday to reconstitute the tobacco panel.” The 2011 FDA advisory panel report suggested that “removing menthol cigarettes from the market would benefit public health,” according to the piece.

The news was also covered by Reuters and the Winston-Salem (NC) Journal.

From the news release of the American Association for Justice.

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