Matthew Holman left his position at the FDA to become vice president of U.S. scientific engagement and regulatory strategy at PMI.
Of course, given the intense regulatory and public scrutiny that tobacco companies are facing, the timing of these appointments could not be any more indispensable. Badrul Chowdhury, who spent more than two decades at the FDA, has accepted the position of chief life sciences officer, while Matthew Holman has been named as the vice president of U.S. scientific engagement and regulatory strategy within the tobacco firm.

In recent years tobacco companies have been doing their utmost to restore their image and reputation and switch to selling safer nicotine alternative products. PMI’s former CEO Andre Catantzopoulos had insisted that a smoke-free future is attainable, and that PMI needs the cooperation of governments and civil society to reach a consensus that with proper oversight and regulation, alternative nicotine products can be part of an effective tobacco policy. “Thanks to rapid advances in science and technology, and strong PMI commitment, these products are now a reality,” he said.

While PMI’s current CEO Jacek Olczak said that the tobacco company will reach its target of 50% sales from smoke-free products by 2025. He said that the company is perfectly equipped to replace cigarettes with safer alternatives. “We have a globally leading portfolio of both traditional and smoke-free tobacco products, an outstanding management team and are an agile, efficient and fast-learning organisation. We are perfectly equipped to continue to be successful in our vision to replace cigarettes with better alternatives, to the benefit of consumers, shareholders and society at large,” he said as quoted by The Edge earlier this year.

PMI strives to change its image

Last year PMI came under fire from Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation for partnering with asthma inhaler maker Vectura, a move which of course seems as hypocritical as it gets given that it is an investment in a product that helps heal a disease that combustible tobacco creates and aggravates.

Meanwhile Olzak has recently reiterated that the company plans to branch out into wellness, saying this is a natural evolution process for the tobacco company. “This is a natural evolution for PMI to further transform our business into a broader lifestyle, consumer wellness and healthcare company in the future. It is an evolution that will deliver not only on our continued commitment to achieve a smoke-free future, but also in developing and commercializing scientifically substantiated products and solutions that meet unmet consumer and patient needs.”

“The market for wellness and healthcare products is large and growing. We have several focus areas in our pipeline. For consumer and over-the-counter wellness products, we have several initiatives looking at focus, sleep, energy, pain and calm. In healthcare, we believe there are significant unmet patient needs for fast and effective treatments in cardiovascular, such as myocardial infarction, and neurology, such as migraine, which can be served by innovative solutions. We have recently accelerated this part of our strategy with the acquisition of Vectura, a provider of innovative inhaled drug-delivery solutions, and Fertin, a leading developer and manufacturer of innovative pharmaceutical and well-being products based on oral and intra-oral delivery systems,” said Olzak.

Read Further: Reuters

The FDA Appoints Cristine Delnevo as Chair of Tobacco Advisory Committee 

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