CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald Resigns Amid Tobacco Investments

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Brenda Fitzgerald, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, resigned Wednesday, several news outlets reported.

The move comes one day after POLITICO reported Fitzgerald's purchase of tobacco stock after she assumed the position of the nation's public health agency.

"Buying shares of tobacco companies raises even more flags than Fitzgerald's trading in drug and food companies because it stands in such stark contrast to the CDC's mission to persuade smokers to quit and keep children from becoming addicted", Politico noted.

A spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services said Fitzgerald, who previously served as Georgia's top public health official, tendered her resignation after detailing the scope of her financial holdings to health chief Alex Azar. The Department of Health and Human Services accepted Fitzgerald's resignation.

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According to financial records, Fitzgerald sold her Japan Tobacco stock in October and completely divested from all stock holdings greater than $1,000 by the end of November. The CDC says that OSH "saves lives and saves money by preventing and reducing tobacco use".

Her departure from the top US public health agency comes in the middle of the country's worst flu season in several years.

"On at least three occasions since Director Fitzgerald's appointment in July, CDC has sent Fitzgerald's deputies to testify at Congressional hearings, alongside the heads of other government agencies, that explored the federal response to the opioid crisis", said Murray, D-Washington.

As of early Wednesday, Fitzgerald herself had yet to comment. Seen in that broader context, Fitzgerald's appointment and her brief, ineffective tenure is just a symptom of a gravely serious ethical disease afflicting this administration. According to another Politico report citing an internal CDC email shared with the news organization, Schuchat will again resume the acting director role, effective immediately.

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