Published: June 7, 2010
New York Times

An ethics watchdog group filed a challenge on Monday against two members of a new federal advisory committee for tobacco product safety, saying they should be disqualified because they are consultants for drug companies that make smoking cessation products.

"Everybody hates the tobacco companies, but favoring the drug companies can’t be the answer," Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said in an interview after filing the complaint with the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services.

She said the two panelists’ ties to smoking cessation businesses would undermine public confidence in regulation of the tobacco industry, which came under the purview of the Food and Drug Administration with the federal tobacco law passed last year.

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