Judge Richard J. Leon of the US District Court for the District of Columbia has ruled that a federal advisory committee appointed by the FDA to issue a report consistent with the agency’s new authority over the sale of tobacco products was illegally constituted. Three of the voting committee members had conflicts of interest in that they received compensation from companies manufacturing tobacco cessation products, and that they were also frequent expert witnesses in tobacco litigation. The conflicts were so significant that the court held that the committee’s “Menthol Report” was “suspect and untrustworthy”, and barred its use.
The case is Lorillard, Inc. v. US Food and Drug Administration, decided July 21, 2014.
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