It Appears Once Again Big Pharma and Big Tobacco Are The Real Winners
Controversial FDA commissioner and anti-vape crusader Scott Gottlieb MD resigned last night to apparently ‘spend more time with his family’.
The timing of his departure is interesting given a few days ago he was at the White House unveiling his plans to ‘restrict’ the sale of e-liquid flavours across the USA.
This attack on vaping is according to some Republicans an ‘over-regulation’ that’s hurting an emerging yet thriving vape industry – whilst on the other side Democrats had criticized him for not being tough enough!
Following the meeting last Friday [March 1st] with West Wing ‘officials’ a White House spokesman said:
We don’t have any announcements at this time.
Just four days later Gottlieb handed in his notice…the timing being extremely interesting to say the least.
It was only a couple of weeks ago that leading Conservative and Libertarian groups wrote to Trump demanding he take action to reign in Gottlieb’s war on vaping. I did suggest then Trump used his infamous words ‘You’re fired‘. However the Washington Post – that broke the news – says the President was sorry to see him leave and had tried to convince him to stay…read into that what you will 😉
Gottlieb told the post:
It was a very hard decision.
This is the best job I will ever have. I’m leaving because I need to spend time with my family. I get home late Friday, work on weekends and come back to Washington on Sunday.
I did the job 100 percent.
You certainly ‘did a job’ on vaping mate – not quite 100% but close…
I’m immensely grateful for the opportunity to help lead this wonderful agency, for the support of my colleagues, for the public health goals we advanced together, and the strong support of @SecAzar and @realDonaldTrump – This has been a wonderful journey and parting is very hard. https://t.co/1Zu9y7NTwR
— Scott Gottlieb, M.D. (@SGottliebFDA) March 5, 2019
On receiving the resignation Trump tweeted:
…Scott has helped us to lower drug prices, get a record number of generic drugs approved and onto the market, and so many other things. He and his talents will be greatly missed!
Nice use of the exclamation mark lol…
I’m sad to say I’m pretty sure there’s thousands of anti-vaping soccer moms clutching their pearls and wailing into lace handkerchiefs right now…I mean he was their very own ‘tough talking’ movie matinee idol who they seemed to worship for his anti-stance on all things vape…ooo I can be such a bitch 😉
Gottlieb’s 180 On All Things Vaping
OK in all seriousness what the hell went wrong? Gottlieb was hailed – even by me – as a breath of fresh air for the world of vaping when he was appointed in 2017 as commissioner. He is a cancer survivor and had invested in the vape industry after initially leaving the FDA following the Bush Jnr term.
Opponents of his appointment at the time were concerned about his close ties to Big Pharma. Those ties came to the surface a couple of weeks ago when he seemed to be paving the way for big pharmaceutical companies – Big Pharma – to begin producing the very same e-cigarettes he seemed intent on ruining. Read E-Liquid Flavour Bans Are Threatening Lives Says Health Expert.
His Road to Damascus moment when he did a complete 180 on all things vape appears to stem from the media outcry regarding our old friend JUUL. Once the mainstream media latched on to a few kids trying the pod kit the whole thing grew horns. Reading fake shock jock style news stories really did make it seem every single kid in America was tooting on a JUUL – as we now know nothing could be further from the truth.
However Gottlieb embraced this fake narrative and literally went to war on all things vape ordering the JUUL offices to be raided and dragging the company in alongside three Big Tobacco companies that he claimed were behind the so called ‘teen vape epidemic’.
It was at this point I likened him to a moody but really bad mafia ham-actor after he used the phrase ‘existential threat‘ to let vape companies – in particular e-liquid and pod manufacturers – know he was gunning for them.
I called those supporting the idea – including Gottlieb – of using mind bending drugs to ‘wean’ kids off e-cigarettes as ‘bat shit crazy‘. When a trial of such drugs was conducted on a group of teenagers the findings showed it simply didn’t work. However this didn’t stop Gottlieb who publicly supported the idea of Big Pharma creating new drugs to get America’s kids off e-cigarettes!
Following his anti-vaping crusade States, towns and cities across America began restricting or outright banning flavoured e-liquids with New York City the last to make the move just last week.
What Next and Who Next In The ‘War On Vaping?’
I’ve not been a fan of his work to say the least labeling him – among other derogatory terms – the ‘vaping anti-Christ’ – ‘a bad B Movie Mafia Don’ and a ‘soccer mom appeaser’ given he’s largely responsible for the current hysteria over the alleged teen vaping epidemic in the states. So will his departure mean the vape war is over? According to the Washington Post no…
They report his ‘blueprint’ to restrict all flavoured e-liquids – except tobacco and menthol – will still go ahead under new leadership – whoever that may be. However they also say his resignation may stop the proposed ban on menthol flavoured lit tobacco as well as the idea of reducing nicotine levels in lit cigarettes…things that make you go ummmm…looks like Big Pharma and Big Tobacco are the real winners with Gottlieb leaving…
Sarah Jakes – chair of the NNA – is never one to hold back and her tweet last night had me snorting cocoa down my nose to say the least:
One thing is clear the war on vaping currently waging across America is still in full flow and it will take a while yet for any kind of truce to be called. We can hope the next FDA commissioner will back off – at least a little bit. However given the so called ‘teen vape epidemic’ is front and centre in the media and used as virtue signalling by obscure politicians and scientist looking for their 15 minutes – one doubts he or she will…we shall see.
If JUUL threw vaping under the bus under Gottlieb’s steely eye and threats – the man himself has literally thrown a grenade under the industry and ran off whilst Rome is burning…a real tough talking ‘Mafia Don wannabe’ would have stayed for the fight…
One thing is for sure – it will be interesting to see where the millionaire former doctor and venture capitalist will pop up next…I heard there’s a movie being made about the early days of the Sopranos…one of Tony Sopranos best lines in the gangster TV series was:
The things I take pleasure in, I can’t do.
A bit like vaping flavoured e-liquids in America…