Philip Morris urges PH to adopt US FDA finding

Published September 7, 2020, 5:00 AM

by Chino S. Leyco

A ranking official of Philip Morris International (PMI) has urged the Philippine government to give weight to the United States Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) finding that IQOS heated tobacco product “reduces the production of harmful and potentially harmful chemicals compared to cigarette smoke.”

Stacey Kennedy, PMI Asia Pacific operations president

During a virtual webinar on innovation in the Philippines, Stacey Kennedy, PMI Asia Pacific operations president, said the US FDA decision supporting IQOS’ “Modified Risk Tobacco Product” claim should be a basis of public health policymaking in the country.

 She explained the US FDA decision has effectively differentiated IQOS from combustible cigarettes when it comes to health risk.

IQOS uses a patented heat-control technology that heats tobacco-filled sticks wrapped in paper, without the burning, to release a water-based aerosol – not smoke.

“IQOS, our leading flagship brand in the reduced risk portfolio, was granted the modified risk tobacco claim the United States,” Kennedy said, noting this is after years of rigorous processes to examine PMI’s claim that IQOS is a better alternative to cigarettes.

“That’s an excellent example for Philippines and other countries in Southeast Asia to look to look at,” she said. “Many countries like the Philippines do not have to start from square zero themselves.”

For this reason, Kennedy said adopting the US FDA decision should be seriously considered by the Philippines to appropriate regulate smoke-free alternatives, like IQOS, from conventional cigarettes.

 “Use that [US FDA decision] as a starting block rather than starting all the way from from square one, and I think that’s really a critical way that countries can accelerate by looking at the transparency and processes of other countries,” Kennedy said.

 In July, the US FDA authorized the sale of IQOS as a modified risk tobacco product, the first and only electronic nicotine item to be granted marketing orders by the agency.

The US FDA decision followed a review of the “extensive scientific evidence package” submitted by PMI in December 2016.

  “The FDA’s decision provides an important example of how governments and public health organizations can regulate smoke-free alternatives to differentiate them from cigarettes in order to promote the public health,” André Calantzopoulos, PMI chief executive said.

  Last week, Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corporation (PMFTC) Inc., an affiliate of PMI, announced the opening of the first four IQOS stores in the Philippines.