Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has asked the Department of Health and Human Services to investigate two people appointed to serve on the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee, which evaluates tobacco product-related safety and health issues and provides advice, information and recommendations to the Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration. The two doctors to which CREW takes exception, Neal Benowitz and Jack Henningfield, have ties to pharmaceutical companies that make smoking cessation products. Benowitz works as a paid consultant for Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis and Aradigm, and assists with the design, development and marketing of smoking cessation products. Henningfield works with a consulting firm, Pinney and Associates, that contracts with pharmaceutical companies seeking FDA approval of smoking cessation products. Henningfield is also a partner in a company that has at least one patent for nicotine gum. CREW acknowledges the two have credentials that qualify them to be on the panel, but takes exception to their being paid to consult about, or create smoking cessation products. CREW's Executive Director, Melanie Sloan, said, questioned how people can have faith in the panel's conclusions when some of its members have a vested financial interest in the panel's decisions.
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