Does U.S. Surgeon General (who calls vaping an ‘epidemic’) have ties to Big Tobacco?
The U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams has been making headlines following a December 18 advisory urging state and local officials to continue the fight against teen vaping as a national epidemic. His words were likely chosen very carefully to specifically copycat those of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). All summer long, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has been making the exact same epidemical claims and to nearly any newscaster who will put him on air.
While these two Trump appointees continue to spout the same, well-coordinated, anti-vaping propaganda, their backgrounds and political connections are also strikingly similar in many ways, too. For example, before winning his role in the FDA, Scott Gottlieb served on the boards of numerous pharmaceutical companies. His venture capital firm, Enterprise Associates, provided millions of dollars in funding for approximately 150 others, as well.
Is it any wonder that one of Chief Gottlieb’s primary objectives since taking office is to expedite the FDA approval process for new medications manufactured by Big Pharma? Coincidentally, one of biggest benefactors of his recent multimedia rantings where he continuously denounces teen vaping as a national epidemic is also these same pharmaceutical companies.
Big Pharma holds the patents on those costly yet ineffective stop smoking aids like nicotine gums, lozenges, and patches. Eradicate vaping, and companies like Johnson & Johnson and GlaxoSmithKline will continue to make billions for decades to come.
If FDA Chief Gottlieb is corrupt, what about the U.S. Surgeon General?
That brings us to the U.S. Surgeon General and his tobacco stock fiasco. First of all, no one really knew who Jerome Adams was before Trump tapped him for the post in 2017. The only prominent political official who knew anything about him was Vice President and former Governor of Indiana Mike Pence. Adams’ most significant claim-to-fame prior to rising to America’s Chief Doc was setting up a needle-sharing program in Indiana to combat a perceived surge in HIV diagnoses.
With so few accomplishments (or negative press, for that matter) in his background, Adams sailed through the Senate confirmation process with ease. Later during the signing of his ethics agreement, Adams promised - like many others in Trump Administration - to divest himself from potential financial conflicts of interest within his first 90-days in office.
The then just-confirmed Surgeon General even reported publicly that he owned shares of stock in about 150 different Big Tobacco organizations. Among these stocks were British American Tobacco, Phillip Morris International, The Altria Group, and Imperial Brands. The latter just happens to be the world’s fourth-largest tobacco company.
Keep in mind, Adams owned these stocks when he was the active Surgeon General for the state of Indiana under then-governor Mike Pence. And nothing was ever done about it. Perhaps even more alarming, Adams was also simultaneously heading the state’s Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Commission.
At the time of this writing, Adams’ updated financial disclosure in not publicly available online. Neither are Trump’s tax records, by the way, but that’s another issue altogether. Still, these interesting intersections between Adams and Gottlieb, vaping and smoking, and Big Pharma and Big Tobacco cannot be a mere coincidence.
Are Gottlieb and Adams pay-to-play public health officials? Are they politically corrupt? Or are they just your run-of-the-mill hypocrites? Perhaps we will never know.
Related Editorial: FDA Corruption, Lies and Accepted Drug Company Bribes
(Image courtesy of Photo: Twitter/VP)