Out of their mind(fulness)

As you know, the FDA is not too happy with JUUL for improper marketing practices aimed at America’s youth. Essentially, the agency alleges that by making vaping “cool,” they’re trying to get the next generation addicted to nicotine. Well the marketing geniuses at JUUL must have mistaken their foot for their vapes, because one of their “solutions” involved offering schools up to $20,000 to use an anti-vaping curriculum they developed. Hey y’all? That’s not a good look. After all, the tobacco industry tried to do the same in the eighties, and those education programs may have caused more students to smoke. JUUL’s version of the course would’ve included the science behind e-cigs, blaming teen use on peer pressure and, uh, mindfulness through telekinesis?? Yeah, why vape when you can move clouds with your mind (audio required)?

E-cig epidemic enforcement incoming

The FDA is getting serious about e-cigarette enforcement. In a statement released last week, the agency announced a crackdown on 1,300+ retailers and five manufacturers who make up 97% of the US market. That includes JUUL, which has been widely criticized for making vaping cool (Editor note: LOL is this really that cool?) and itself accounts for over half the US market. The FDA says vape use has increased to epidemic levels in teens, and it is intent to not “allow a whole new generation to become addicted to nicotine.” The agency expects the manufacturers to submit plans within 60 days to explain how they’ll stop teens from getting addicted to their products. If not, the agency could pull e-cigs from the market, a move which Big Tobacco is a fan of.

Smoking kills… eleven years later

Ready to see an exciting video? Then don’t click on that. It’s an anti-smoking ad paid for by “Big Tobacco,” and boy is it a snoozer. That’s not exactly a surprise considering the four companies court-ordered to pay for this ad campaign have been fighting tooth and nail to not have to. A quick timeline: in ’99 the US Justice Department filed a racketeering lawsuit, which tobacco companies spent a short seven years in court fighting before a judge ruled they had to pay for these ads. A measly eleven years of denied appeals later, you’ll be able to see the ads start running this weekend on primetime network television. Joe Camel would roll over in his grave if that hump wasn’t in the way.

These aren’t the RFPs you’re looking for

Oklahoma recently became the fourth US state to file a lawsuit against opioid manufacturers, and they won’t be the last. States like Delaware have even begun asking for RFPs from private law firms. The uptick in lawsuits against opioid producers has many drawing comparisons to lawsuits against Big Tobacco in the 90s. Those ended up costing the involved companies over $200 billion. If there’s something similar coming down the road for “Big Pharma” (which is not only a conspiracy theory, but also apparently a game?) then it won’t be a mere drop in the bucket. The entire pharma industry made $778 billion in prescription sales last year, so a similar fine against a small group of companies could leave them hurting.

Not just for smokin’

Maybe tobacco can redeem itself for its bad reputation as being an addictive, cancer-causing vice. It turns out, a tobacco plant-based platform for biomanufacturing may be able to make monoclonal antibodies at just 10% of the cost it takes using mammalian cell line systems. PlantPraxis, a joint venture between the Brazilian company Axis Biotech Brasil and the Canadian biotech PlantForm Corporation, is breaking ground on a pilot production facility in Rio de Janeiro to aid in the development of a biosimilar for AbbVie’s Humira (adalimumab) in addition to other biologics in their pipeline. What is even better than saving tons of money? Saving time; and the plant-based platform can do that too, along with unlimited scale-up capabilities. Don’t sell the tobacco farm just yet…