CDC director resigns after reports of buying tobacco stock

01 February, 2018, 00:30 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • David Tulis  AP

Dr. Fitzgerald's resignation was announced in a statement by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) via its newly appointed secretary, Alex Azar, stating that "complex financial interests that have imposed a broad recusal limiting her ability to complete all her duties as the CDC director".

Trump's CDC director resigns after bombshell report on tobacco stock holdings The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention resigned after it was revealed she had purchased stock in a tobacco company a month after taking the job, which oversees smoking-cessation programs, among other things.

A CDC report released in November found that 1 in 5 US adults used some type of tobacco product in 2015.

Fitzgerald's ethics agreement required she avoid any government business which could impact cancer detection or health information technology. Her financial disclosure report, released by Politico, showed she made purchases last August in shares of Japan Tobacco Inc, Merck & Co Inc, Humana Inc as well as ADRs of German drugmaker Bayer AG. Specifically, Fitzgerald and her husband have invested more than $300,000 in GW Ventures, a biotech startup, and Greenway Messenger, a health IT company, but could not divest for them because of the complicated rules prohibiting rapid sales. Specifically in Japan Tobacco, with investments ranging from $1,001 to $15,000.

The head of the leading US public health agency has resigned because of financial conflicts of interest that documents showed included purchases of tobacco and healthcare stocks while in office. A day after the purchase, she toured the CDC's Tobacco Laboratory, which studies the toxic effects of tobacco and tobacco products, according to NPR. Fitzgerald had sold all of her stock holdings above $1,000 by November 21.

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Peter Lurie is the former associate commissioner for public health strategy at the Food and Drug Administration.

"If the president and other senior White House officials do not see the need to divest themselves of their business interests, why should the director of the CDC?"

A lengthy delay in Fitzgerald's divestment of her stock holdings, which included shares in health-care companies, was cited by the Trump administration Wednesday morning as the reason for her resignation.

Fitzgerald's then-boss, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, resigned last September after Politico exposed Price repeatedly had used expensive private charter flights for official travel as opposed to flying commercial.


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