According to newsinferno.com, Lorillard and R.J. Reynolds have sued the FDA and the Department of Health and Human Services over the composition of the FDA’s Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee. The two big cigarette makers allege that conflicts of interest and bias existed on an FDA advisory panel that wants to recommend menthol, or mint flavored, cigarettes be banned. Specifically, they claim the panel have a financial interest in seeing tobacco products fail. Even though the FDA panel recommendations are not legally binding, the FDA does generally follow the advice of its panels, and the panel will likely make its recommendations by March 23rd. The legislation has called on the FDA to seek advice from a panel of outside experts before determining whether menthol cigarettes should also be taken off the US market.
In 2009, legislation passed enabling the FDA to make decisions concerning tobacco products, including cigarettes. The agency banned flavored cigarettes, such as fruit and chocolate, which were specifically marketed towards children. Matthew Myers president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids says that what the tobacco companies fear is that the committee, after examining all the evidence, will recommend effective actions that reduce or eliminate the lucrative market for menthol cigarettes. This is yet another example of how big tobacco places profits ahead of lives and health. Health advocates denounce the lawsuit as a frivolous attempt to keep the FDA panel’s recommendation from coming to light. Just as an aside, it is interesting that RJ Reynolds openly admits in a public health statement on their website that cigarettes are harmful: Cigarette smoking significantly increases the risk of developing lung cancer, heart disease, chronic bronchitis, emphysema and other serious diseases and adverse health conditions. Needless to say, we wonder how these people sleep at night. If you or a loved suffered injuries due to the use of a dangerous product, contact our firm to find out if you a product liability lawsuit.