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Anti-E-Cig Dems Took Hundreds Of Thousands From Big Pharma

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Guy Bentley Research Associate, Reason Foundation
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Seven Senate Democrats who signed a letter applauding the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) crackdown on e-cigarettes took hundreds of thousands of dollars from the pharmaceutical industry.

They wrote to the FDA May 11 congratulating the agency on its almost 500-page rule book regulating e-cigarettes, cigars, and pipe tobacco.

“We commend the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for finalizing the deeming rule that extends FDA regulatory authority to include all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, cigars, and pipe tobacco, to protect the public’s health—and especially the health of the youngest Americans—from the harmful effects of tobacco,” the senators wrote. (RELATED:Senate Democrats Applaud FDA E-Cigarette Prohibition)

Industry experts and independent vape shop owners fear the regulations will destroy the market, wreck innovation and ban almost all vapor products. (RELATED: Experts Savage FDA’s Most Recent Claim That Killing 99% Of An Industry Spurs ‘Innovation’)

The rule that most concerns the e-cigarette industry is the so-called “predicate date” of Feb. 17, 2007. All vapor products that came on the market after this date, which is almost all of them, will have to go through the notoriously onerous and expensive Pre-Market Tobacco Application process (PMTA).

PMTAs can cost millions of dollars per product and around 1,700 hours of paperwork. Industry experts and the FDA’s own analysis from 2014 estimate 99 percent of products on the market won’t even be put through this process and will be taken off the market within two years.

One sector that might benefit disproportionately from this outcome is pharmaceuticals. Companies such as Pfizer and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries make smoking cessation products like nicotine gum and patches, which directly compete with e-cigarettes to get smokers off tobacco.

CVS Health, which sells nicotine replacement therapies but refuses to carry e-cigarettes could also benefit the removal of competition. The company’s twitter account once compared e-cigarettes to the light cigarettes marketed by the tobacco industry.

Seven Democrats who signed the congratulatory letter to the FDA have raked in  substantial sums from these organizations’ PACs, lobbyists and employees.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal

Pfizer: $12,300, 2009-2012

$24,300, 2009-2014

$28,500, 2011-2016

Total: $65,100

Sen. Dianne Feinstein

Pfizer: $12,000, 2005-2010

$33,250, 2007-2012

$38,250, 2009-2014

$35,750, 2011-2016

Total: $119,250

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

Pfizer: $45,298, 2009-2010

$76,048, 2009-2012

$72,800, 2009-2014

$44,500, 2011-2016

Total: $238,646

Sen. Patrick Leahy

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries: $12,500, 2005-2010

$14,500, 2007-2012

$18,450, 2009-2014

$15,750, 2011-2016

Pfizer: $15,000

Total: $76,200

Sen. Jack Reed

CVS Health: $55,250, 2007-2012

$43,250, 2009-2014

$39,200, 2011-2016

Total: $137,700

Sen. Tom Udall

Pfizer: $16,000, 2009-2014

Total: $16,000

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse

CVS Health: $20,500, 2005 -2010

$27,050, 2007-2012

$33,050, 2009-2014

$28,050, 2011-2016

Pfizer: $10,000, 2011-2016

Total: $118,650

All the data listed above was collected from OpenSecrets.org.

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Guy Bentley