CEO DailyCFO DailyBroadsheetData SheetTerm Sheet

Former FDA Chief Says Juul Created a Youth Vaping ‘Crisis’

November 5, 2019, 11:35 PM UTC

This is the web version of Brainstorm Health Daily, Fortune’s daily newsletter on the top healthcare news. To get it delivered daily to your in-box, sign up here.

Good afternoon, readers.

Former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Scott Gottlieb isn’t mincing words about vaping giant Juul.

Gottlieb, a known advocate for different (but safe) alternatives to combustible cigarette smoking, stepped down from the top perch at the FDA this spring after a largely lauded tenure. He’s had his share of critics for attempting to delay certain regulatory requirements on e-cigarette makers (I go into these issues in far greater detail in my recent piece on the future of the vaping industry).

But here’s what Gottlieb said on Tuesday: “The youth vaping crisis was always a Juul crisis. I believe they primarily created it. One company, bent on pursuing top line growth at almost any cost, may have wrecked the entire concept of harm reduction in the U.S,” he wrote in a tweet.

Gottlieb has been critical of efforts to ban flavored e-cigarette pods—including new initiatives by the Trump administration to yank products that could appeal to children off the market entirely—that don’t also encompass menthol- and mint-flavored vaping cartridges. In his latest tweet, Gottlieb points to a new study finding that mint (and mint-adjacent) flavors are among the most popular for young users.

Fortune has reached out to Juul, which recently decided to pull its candy-flavored pods such as mango and other fruity variants from stores, for comment on Gottlieb’s criticisms and will update this post if it responds. Juul is facing multiple lawsuits and intense regulatory scrutiny for allegedly marketing products to children and other consumer safety concerns.

Read on for the day’s news.

Sy Mukherjee
sayak.mukherjee@fortune.com
@the_sy_guy

DIGITAL HEALTH

The Peloton profit problem. Shares of Peloton, the high-fi, techno-centric bike/digital coach combo company that went public less than two months ago, sank nearly 8% in Tuesday trading as investors shrugged off an impressive top-line growth number. The problem, it seems, may be the profit–the nearly $50 million loss recorded last quarter didn't seem to sit will with some, though Peloton CEO John Foley is still sounding a bullish note based on the better-than-expected gross revenue numbers. (Fortune)

INDICATIONS

Another wrench thrown into Congress' efforts to regulate drug prices. President Donald Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and the Republican-controlled Senate are all ostensibly united in an effort to tackle high drug prices. Except, well, politics. The Trump administration is now supporting a bill in the Senate with significant differences from the Pelosi-backed drug price legislation (which would allow for Medicare price negotiations), arguing that the latter is unpassable. The bigger question is: Is anything passable in an election year, and where does the posturing end the actual policy begin? (Fortune)

THE BIG PICTURE

UnitedHealth launches homelessness health care program. The nation's largest insurer, UnitedHealth, is launching a fascinating new program to combat the costs of treating homeless people with health care needs by providing them with, well, homes. This is one of the most critical issues when it comes to unmet medical needs—it's pretty difficult to get proper medical care, or gain a medical home, when you don't have an actual home. (Bloomberg)

REQUIRED READING

Design Has Entered a Fundamentally New Eraby Clay Chandler

What Companies Can Learn from the U.S. Government's Use of Artificial Intelligenceby Jonathan Vanian

The 10 Best U.S. Cities for Women in Techby Anne Fisher

Goldman Sachs Jumps on the 'Profit Matters' Bandwagonby Polina Marinova

Sign up for other Fortune newsletters.

IF YOU LIKE THIS EMAIL...

Share today’s Brainstorm Health with a friend.

Did someone share this with you? Sign up here. For previous editions, click here.

For even more, check out raceAhead, Fortune's daily newsletter on culture in corporate America. Sign up here.