FDA’s top tobacco scientist has left his job to work for tobacco giant Philip Morris
Matt Holman, the FDA’s top tobacco scientist, has left the agency to work for Philip Morris International, maker of Marlboro cigarettes
The FDA’s chief tobacco scientist has left the agency to work for the maker of Marlboro cigarettes amid attempts to regulate the vaping market.
Matt Holman, chief of science at the agency’s Center for Tobacco Products, announced his departure from the FDA on Tuesday, effective immediately.
The biochemist and agency employee of more than 20 years has accepted a position at Philip Morris International, a memo from CTP director Brian King revealed.
Holman had been on furlough before his resignation, but King claimed the former chief “absolved himself, in accordance with the bureau’s ethics policies, from all CTP/FDA work while exploring career opportunities outside of government.”
His departure comes just weeks after the federal regulator temporarily reversed its June decision to ban the sale of Juul e-cigarettes in stores.
Philip Morris, although most famous for producing Marlboro cigarettes, is also a manufacturer of e-cigarettes, heated tobacco and oral nicotine products.
Holman’s departure comes just weeks after the federal regulator temporarily reversed its June decision to ban the sale of Juul e-cigarettes in stores. Philip Morris (NYC headquarters pictured) is also an e-cigarette and e-vapor device manufacturer
Few details about the nature of Holman’s new position have been revealed, but Philip Morris told DailyMail.com Thursday that the company is “looking” at Holman joining their team “as we continue to pursue a smoke-free future.”
‘Dr. Holman has devoted a significant portion of his career to scientific and policy issues that aim to improve public health. He is committed to helping existing adult smokers access science-backed smoke-free alternatives while protecting youth,” a spokesperson said.
Further details on Holman’s appointment will be announced at a later date, but Philip Morris says “he will abide by all applicable post-government employment restrictions.”
“These restrictions prohibit Dr. Holman to appear before or communicate with the FDA on behalf of PMI on any matter for a period of one year.
“Besides, it’s Dr. Holman was prohibited from appearing before the FDA on behalf of PMI or communicating with the FDA for a period of two years on matters under his official responsibility during his senior year of government service.
Finally, for Dr. Holman was permanently prohibited from appearing before the FDA on behalf of PMI or communicating with the FDA on any matter in which he was personally and substantially involved throughout his entire government service.”
Holman told The New York Times on Wednesday that his role at Philip Morris was “broadly defined” but involved working on efforts to reduce tobacco harm. He will also provide input on the regulations.
He also noted that he was attracted to the agency because of its goal of forcing smokers to use cigarettes for non-combustible and less harmful products.
“They are taking the actions that I think are appropriate for such a purpose,” Holman said. “And that really caught my attention on PMI. I’m not going there to help them sell more cigarettes, on the contrary.’
His departure was announced Tuesday by CTP Director Brian King in a memo, which has since been made public by Stat News Correspondent Nicholas Florko.
In his Tuesday memo – made public by Stat News correspondent Nicholas Florko – King praised Holman for helping CTP through a “critical time,” including “including preparing and overseeing the assessment of the bolus of premarket applications for tobacco products’.
He said that while he and Holman “had no opportunity to work together,” he was “grateful” for his contributions to the agency and “wishes him well with his next chapter.”
Holman’s resignation adds to the already lingering problems within the FDA’s tobacco control division, which is currently under review by Commissioner Robert Califf. The division also lost former president Mitch Zeller when he retired in April.
Critics argue that Holman’s career change is worrisome because of the “revolving door” between federal officials and companies they regulate.
However, federal career change rules don’t prohibit an officer who oversees regulatory affairs from leaving the agency and then joining companies with products under review.
Rules prevent Holman — or any other former FDA employee — from appearing before the agency on issues in which he “personally and substantially participated in government service.”
‘This is legal. That’s the bottom line,” Dr. Michael Carome, director of the Public Citizen Health Research Group, told the Times. “It’s these kinds of revolving doors that really undermine public confidence in the agency.”
Critics argue that Holman’s career change is worrisome because of the “revolving door” between federal officials and companies they regulate. PICTURED: Cigarettes move past a machine during the assembly process at Philip Morris International’s manufacturing facility in Medellin, Colombia in June 2017
Those skeptical of the move are also questioning the recent approval of Philip Morris’s smokeless tobacco product, an electronic device that, unlike e-cigarettes, contains tobacco.
Philip Morris’s product isn’t currently sold in the US due to patent issues, but if those were resolved, it could potentially hit store shelves.
Holman played a key role in the adoption of e-cigarettes, including Philip Morris’s IQOS device.
dr. Stanton Glantz, a retired professor of medicine, argued that the agency’s approval of IQOS “ignored valid scientific evidence and misapplied the public health standard imposed by law.”
He claims that Holman ignored a large study that found that e-cigarette use was not associated with less smoking and that approving vaping does not address the problem of double use of cigarettes and e-cigarettes.
“He’s the one who signed these approvals,” he said. “They tackle all these problems by ignoring them, by relying on outdated studies.”
Earlier this month, the FDA temporarily reinstated sales of Juul e-cigarettes after reviewing the company’s appeal against a decision to withdraw the products from the market (file photo)
Earlier this month, the FDA temporarily reinstated sales of Juul e-cigarettes after reviewing the company’s appeal against a decision to withdraw the products from the market.
The FDA has chosen to deny the company’s application to remain on store shelves at the end of June as part of a larger crackdown on teen smoking and the tobacco industry in general.
While many other major e-cigarette manufacturers were allowed to stay on the shelves, Juul was rejected instead. The San Francisco, California-based company appealed the decision.
On July 5, America’s top regulatory agency cited “scientific issues” as a reason to suspend the ban and temporarily return the products.
“This administrative suspension temporarily suspends, but does not revoke, the denial of marketing during the additional review,” the agency wrote in a statement. tweet.
“All electronic nicotine delivery systems or ENDS products, including those from JUUL, are required by law to have FDA clearance to be legally marketed. The agency’s residency and review do not constitute authorization to market, sell, or ship JUUL products.”
Juul became hugely popular in the US in the 2010s, when its fruit-flavored nicotine products became trendy among younger smokers — leading to the company also being blamed for the increase in teenage smoking.
To curb the rise in smoking among teens, the FDA banned fruit-flavored e-cigarettes and forced each company to apply individually to keep their products on the shelves. Juul was expected to approve his application.
Juul has branded its products as devices that can help nicotine addicts safely wean themselves slowly – as vape devices don’t have many of the same drawbacks as smoking tobacco cigarettes.
Instead, the fruity and mint flavors in many of its devices have led many kids and teens to smoke—when they probably wouldn’t otherwise.
This has put Juul, and the e-cigarette market in general, in the crosshairs of the FDA in recent years.