Jan 30, 2018 - Health

CDC director bought tobacco stock while leading public health agency

Brenda Fitzgerald

Brenda Fitzgerald. Photo: Melissa Golden for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Brenda Fitzgerald, Trump-appointed director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "bought shares in a tobacco company one month into her leadership of the agency," Politico reports.

Why it matters: The move seems to run counter to the CDC's mission of curbing smoking — as a leading cause of disease and death — in the United States, and raises ethical questions.

Statement from the Department of Health and Human Services:

“Like all presidential personnel, Dr. Fitzgerald’s financial holdings were reviewed by the HHS Ethics Office, and she was instructed to divest of certain holdings that may pose a conflict of interest. During the divestiture process, her financial account manager purchased some potentially conflicting stock holdings. These additional purchases did not change the scope of Dr. Fitzgerald’s recusal obligations, and Dr. Fitzgerald has since also divested of these newly acquired potentially conflicting publicly traded stock holdings.”

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