FDA tobacco official takes job at PMI

Matthew Holman, director of the Office of Science at the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products (CTP), has taken a job at Philip Morris International (PMI), reports Filter.

The director of the CTP, Brian King, informed colleagues of Holman’s departure in a letter which revealed that Holman “recused himself, consistent with agency ethics policies, from all CTP/FDA work while exploring career opportunities outside of government.” King also said that Dr. Benjamin Apelberg and Dr. Todd Cecil, two OS higher-ups, would serve as acting OS directors on a rotating basis until a permanent leader is found, according to Filter.
“FDA thanks Dr. Holman for his federal service and wishes him well,” an agency spokesperson said in a statement to Filter. “The work of the Center for Tobacco Products’ Office of Science is essential to our mission to protect Americans from tobacco-related disease and death. We are confident in the expertise and ability of our staff to continue this critical public health work while the Center for Tobacco Products conducts a nationwide search to identify the next Director for the Office of Science.”
The news comes as the CTP is already facing tough times with FDA commissioner Robert Califf saying he was commissioning external experts to evaluate CTP in the wake of the Juul marketing order saga. Speculation is rife regarding Holman’s new role at PMI and a spokesperson for PMI has said that all details about Holman’s job responsibilities would be shared at a later date, reports Filter.
“Dr. Holman is not leaving the FDA, he’s escaping,” Amanda Wheeler, the president of American Vapor Manufacturers and a vape shop owner in Arizona, told Filter. “It is hard to avoid the sense that the most serious and essential work on tobacco harm reduction is being done outside of an agency that appears beyond repair.”

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