The FDA recently appointed a new chief over the agency's center for tobacco products. Dr. Lawrence Deyton has a lengthy career that includes posts at Tobacco Free Kids and most recently as a company serving as an adviser to GlaxoSmithKline, maker of Nicorette. As you might imagine, this is more than a little unsettling. Dr. Siegel called the move a blatant conflict of interest.
The conflict of interest is particularly inappropriate because one of the very first orders of business of the Center for Tobacco Products under Zeller's leadership will be promulgating regulations for the products that will compete with pharmaceuticals for the smoking cessation market: namely, electronic cigarettes and some other alternative nicotine-delivery devices. These regulations will have a major impact on the profits of GlaxoSmithKline, the top seller of nicotine replacement drugs and what appears to be the primary (if only) pharmaceutical company for which Zeller did consulting work.
As an interesting side note, the FDA authenticated a 2009 letter from doctors and researchers at the FDA that accused the agency of favoring the pharma industry. I'm sure that has nothing to do with this appointment.