Directly after the Tobacco Control Act of 2009 was signed into law, President Obama appointed a former political lobbyist of Big Pharma, Mitch Zeller, to run the newly formed Center for Tobacco Products. Zeller would become the primary player in the creation and implementation of the recently announced FDA deeming regulations that threaten to wipe out the entire vaping industry. Why would the Leader of the Free World choose a former employee of the pharmaceuticals industry to head a new government agency focusing on tobacco regulation? The answer might be more devious than you might expect.
The Big Pharma and Obamacare Connection
Almost immediately after the Presidential Inauguration of 2008, the Democrats began work on the much-discussed universal healthcare plan, later to become known as Obamacare. This had been the very cornerstone of Mr. Obama’s election campaign. But by mid-2009, the likelihood of the bill being passed by both houses of Congress was beginning to look rather bleak.
Big Pharma companies like Pfizer and Bristol-Meyers Squibb were not very happy with the notion of the federal government regulating and controlling the costs of drugs. If Obama didn’t want to go down in history as a complete failure, then concessions would have to be made, and revisions to the Obamacare regulations would have to occur.
Quid pro quo: The FDA deeming regulations
If the Obama Administration wanted to get Big Pharma on board, then they would have to give the pharmaceutical companies something in exchange. As luck would have it, all of this political uncertainty was occurring just as the Tobacco Control Act of 2009 was signed into law. To gain the political support of Big Pharma (and the congressional members which the industry controlled), Obama agreed to appoint Mitch Zeller to oversee the newly formed Center for Tobacco Products.
It no secret that the cost of prescription medications in the United States is higher than in any nation on the planet. If Obamacare was going to do what it promised (becoming affordable for 100% of Americans), then these prescription costs would have to be reduced. But Big Pharma didn’t want to cut their prices, that is, until Mitch Zeller came into the picture.
Nicotine Replacement Therapies
Sales of “the patch” and nicotine gum, two products whose patents are owned by pharmaceutical conglomerates GlaxoSmithKline and Johnson & Johnson, had been steadily falling over the past decade as e-cigs and vaping became increasingly popular. Big Pharma wanted that money back. So a deal was struck. Obama would appoint Mitch Zeller, who would then oversee the creation of the FDA deeming regulations which would then be instrumental in bankrupting the entire vaping industry through excessive federal oversight.
By manipulating Zeller to create new FDA deeming regulations that also include vaping products and e-cigs, Big Pharma could gain back much of the lost revenues in nicotine replacement therapies. If Zeller could trick the American People into thinking that vaping was a “gateway to teen smoking,” then Big Pharma could really clean up. Perhaps they could make even more money than before...enough to slice the costs of prescription medications just enough to make Obamacare attractive enough for a majority vote in Congress.
And the rest, as they say, is history.