Thursday, August 6, 2009

Could big pharma cash in on FDA ban on e-cigs

The distinguished looking gentleman put aside the magazine he'd been reading as the newcomer pulled out a chair and sat down.

“So, what have we come up with by way of a name for this new smoking cessation aid?” the man asked his new companion while sipping on his Chivas on-the-rocks.

“It's to be called the BreakFree Inhalator.” said the well-dressed young man . “I'd have preferred something a little more catchy, but the marketing gurus say BreakFree will be just fine.

They've advised us to avoid anything remotely sounding like “nicotine”; they want to avoid any connection with currently marketed products like Nicoderm or Nicorettes which are immediately associated with the pharmaceutical industry. That could be a drawback since the potential market will be comprised mainly of current smokers.

They wanted something that suggests freedom. BreakFree, for example, suggests a struggle with the evil tobacco plant. The marketing campaign would go something like: Liberate yourself from the deadly smoking habit with the BreakFree Inhalator, the latest hi-tech innovation in smoking cessation.”

The younger man paused as a pretty young waitress approached the table.

“CC and Seven.” He told her, smiling. She returned his smile with one of her own and, turning away, went to fetch the drink for the newcomer.

As the waitress moved away, the young man resumed. “And, of course, they suggest we avoid the term “electronic cigarette” as much as possible. It's to be referred to as a new, high tech smoking cessation device.”

“That makes sense”, the older man interrupted. “Our, er . . . anti-smoking allies have done a pretty thorough job of discrediting the e-cig in the eyes of the public; perhaps too thorough. How do we counteract all that negative publicity?”

“That may not be as difficult as you think.” countered the young man. “The FDA's opposition to the e-cig is predicated on the fact that the manufacturers and distributors have not proven that their product is safe or obtained FDA approval. As a well-established pharmaceutical company, we can provide the “proof” they say they need; remember, we already have approval for our other smoking cessation products; an established history, if you will.

Then there's all the fuss being raised by some anti-smoking elements who think the e-cig represents the best bet to reduce the health risks associated with smoking. We just tell the public that, after further study, we find the e-cig is not as hazardous as first thought, as long as proper quality control measures are adopted.”

“And, of course, the drug industry can provide the most effective quality control standards.” the older man interjected, “And, by moving manufacturing capacity to the good old USA, we can negate any criticism stemming from the fact that the e-cig is manufactured in China.”

“You got it, DJ.” chuckled the younger man. “The manufacturing facility is geared up and ready to go. We'll use the same distribution network that's in place for our other products. And, a multi-faceted media campaign is ready to be unleashed. In a few months we can have the BreakFree Inhalator available in every drugstore in North America.”

There was a brief lull in the conversation as the waitress returned with the younger man's drink.

As the waitress disappeared again, the older man asked. “But what about our friends in public health. They've gone to some lengths to demonize the e-cig. Won't they be a little pissed off when we introduce a similar product?”

“Maybe,” the younger man replied, “but do we really care? As long as they continue to get funding for their anti-smoking agenda, they won't get too indignant.”

“Besides”, he explained, “we've already taken care of their main objections. Initially, the BreakFree Inhalator will be available only by prescription. That eliminates their opposition based on the availability to kids. We can demonstrate that our new device is just as safe as our current, FDA approved, smoking cessation products. At this point in time we don't plan to market the Inhalator cartridges in flavours other than menthol. That's a year or so down the road. Public Health can easily save face by claiming that all their concerns have been addressed.”

“And,” he continued, “there's the added bonus that they've been actively promoting our other smoking cessation aids and drugs. They'll have little choice but to promote the Inhalator once we've “proven” it to be safe, effective and subject to strict quality control standards.”

“But, what about their criticism that it mimics the act of smoking? Won't we catch a little flak over that?” queried the older man.

“I don't think they'll get too vocal about it. A subtle hint that we might consider reducing or eliminating their funding should do the trick. They'll come around to our way of thinking.” The younger man was grinning broadly. “And, remember, unlike the e-cig, the Inhalator is meant for smoking cessation. People won't be smoking; they'll be quitting . . . using our new hi-tech smoking cessation device.”

The younger man's broad grin grew even broader.

“I like it.” chuckled the older man. “There really is a sucker born every minute.”


To the best of my knowledge. No such meeting has ever taken place. But, then again, it might have. And, if it did, it might explain recent efforts by the FDA to discredit the e-cig and prevent its distribution to the public. Nor should it imply a conspiracy by the pharmaceutical industry. They would simply be taking advantage of a potentially lucrative business opportunity.

And, the FDA would come out smelling like a rose. It would effectively stifle criticism by anti-smoking activists who think the e-cig has the potential to save lives. They stopped the distribution of those chinese-made, cancer causing e-cigs and provided consumers with a safer, more suitable, alternative.

On that front, Dr. Elizabeth Whelan is the latest anti-smoking advocate to criticize FDA attempts to ban the electronic cigarette. In a Washington Times article she says: “In making its distorted, incomplete and misleading statement, FDA was violating its long-cherished tradition of sticking to sound science as the basis for its policies. And in doing so, it is putting the lives and health of millions of Americans at risk.”

Think about it. Could a major pharmaceutical company overcome FDA opposition to the e-cig and obtain their stamp of approval? Remember, stranger things have happened in the Orwellian world of the anti-smoker.

1 comment:

electronic cigarette said...

The Gov & the FDA do not care about the publics health as much as they do in making there profits from traditional tobacco cigs which is the leading cause in killing over 400,000 US citizens each year. It's a no Brainier to understand the concept behind this two products. Traditional tobacco cigarette contains over 4000 + deadly hazardous Toxins, Poison & Carcinogen chemicals which is a real treat to your Health & the Environment. On the other hand we have a much better & safer alternative smoking device which is mainly made from 99% H20 (water) & 1 % nicotine. My report shows no serious claims of injuries nor deaths from the use of an electronic cigarette. Please do your research and choose what’s best for you & the environment. I choose an electronic Cig! Please Be & Think safe :)