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The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention resigned Wednesday over financial conflicts of interest involving her investments in health care businesses.
Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald's complex financial investments presented conflicts that made it difficult to do her job, according to a statement from the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the CDC. In an ethics agreement filed in September, Fitzgerald had said that legal and contractual restrictions prevented her from selling the two investments.
The new HHS head, Alex Azar, who took office on Monday, accepted her resignation Wednesday after discussing the investments with her and their effect on her work.
ONE OF BRITAIN'S leading health charities, which has spent years campaigning to help people give up smoking, is investing in tobacco shares. The British Heart Foundation, which researches links between smoking and heart attacks, has invested its employees' pension contributions in a fund that makes money from tobacco stocks. An investigation by The Independent on Sunday has found that the foundation has placed more than pounds 6m of its pension assets in a fund that buys and sells shares in companies such as British American Tobacco, Gallaher and Imperial Tobacco.
Government proposals to clamp down on public bodies taking “ethical” issues into consideration over their business deals could force local councils to retain pension fund investments in tobacco companies.
Councils are investing millions of pounds in some of the world’s largest tobacco companies at the same time as funding for services to help people stop smoking is being slashed, an investigation by The Independent has revealed. Investments in cigarette giants including Phillip Morris and Imperial Tobacco by local authorities in England have increased by hundreds of millions of pounds over the past five years. At the same time, councils have nearly halved the money available to help smokers to beat their addiction.