FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb acknowledged the concerns raised by the premium cigar industry regarding the negative impact the FDA’s regulation will have on small businesses.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio raised the issue during a Senate Appropriations subcommittee meeting, asking the FDA commissioner about his views. Gottlieb responded:
“We’re currently looking at aspects of the rule, as you know there was a three-month delay in the implantation of certain compliance dates announced before I arrived at FDA and we’re coming up at the end of that delay. Whatever we do in this regard is going to need to be science-based of course. But, we’re cognizant of the challenges faced by small business. I also understand there are a number of legislative measures to exempt premium cigars. If Congress were to act, we’d be happy to work with legislators to mitigate any unintended consequences of these measures. I don’t want to comment too specifically given that there is pending litigation right now around this issue, other than to say that I understand the concerns. You and I have had the opportunity to talk about them on a few occasions now and I do understand the concerns of the small businesses that make premium cigars, senators.”
The delay in compliance dates was a result of the pending lawsuit filed by the IPCPR, CAA and CRA. The government requested more time before proceeding with the case and a stipulation for rescheduling the trial date was to extend the compliance dates. The trial is scheduled for August 30.