Tech industry sends letter to Congress urging change of FDA e-cig regulations
It’s Inauguration Day 2017, and America has a new, somewhat tech-savvy President in Donald Trump. The Twitter-loving POTUS has had a rather rocky relationship with the tech industry in recent months, publicly slamming leading companies like Amazon, Apple, and Facebook frequently during his election campaign.
Trump has made public outcries for a boycott against Apple because of privacy concerns, and his staff has taken to mainstream media to berate Facebook’s Mark Zukerberg for differing opinions on immigration reform. Trump has even blasted Amazon CEO Jeff Bezo with an accusation of dodging income taxes.
But in mid-December, a cease-fire of sorts was reached by both parties when high-ranking executives of the tech industry met with Donald Trump, who issued the following statement.
"There's nobody like you in the world," Trump reportedly stated at the beginning of the meeting. "There's nobody like the people in this room. And anything we can do to help this go along, we're going to be there for you."
So, what will The Donald think about a thirteen-member coalition of technology think tanks urging Congress to swiftly and categorically revisit the FDA deeming regulations that threaten to wipe out the entire vaping industry by 2018? Will the 45th President of the United States agree with the coalition’s stance, or will he be offended that the tech industry sent the letter to Congress rather than himself?
TechFreedom: Modifying predicate date is ‘necessary to avoid catastrophe’
The congressional letter was sent on January 17, and it addressed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Majority Leader Paul Ryan. Furthermore, it was signed by some thirteen tech groups with excellent credentials, including TechFreedom, FreedomWorks, R Street, and the Citizens Against Government Waste, just to name a few.
The coalition doesn’t pull any punches either. In the short and succinct letter to Congress, the tech group estimates that the uber-expensive Pre-Market Tobacco Application (PMTA) process might be far more costly and time-consuming than even the vaping industry imagines. According to the letter, PMTA approval could take up to 20 different applications and over $6 million per product, all but cementing the imminent bankrupting of the entire American vaping industry.
“The FDA estimates that companies will need to file 20 applications for each product within the first two years of regulation, setting the cost around $6 million per product. Even that would be enough to exclude all but the largest companies, but the National Center for Public Policy Research estimates the real cost will be closer to $1 million per application.4 The industry has seen massive growth and innovation in the last decade.5 By setting the predicate date well before the introduction of most modern vapor products, the FDA has ensured that most manufacturers will be forced to shut down, as 99% of products will not go through the required process.”
Why does the tech industry care so much about vaping? Apparently, the coalition believes that federal restrictions like those placed on e-cigs set a dangerous precedent. Excessive federal oversight like that found in the FDA deeming regulations only paves the way for a surge in new regulatory actions of similar severity that could potentially threaten other fields of technological innovation.
The tech coalition also urges Congress to begin the repeal process by moving forward the included predicate date from February 15, 2007 to August 16, 2016. A spokesperson for TechFreedom, Evan Swarztrauber, believes modifying the predicate date is “necessary to avoid catastrophe, but it’s only the first step.”
The entire letter to Congress can be located online.
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