CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald Resigns Over Financial Conflicts

By Associated Press
NEW YORK — The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has resigned because of financial conflicts of interest, government officials announced Wednesday.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.Alex Azar, who was sworn in as head of the department Monday, accepted her resignation.

Fitzgerald’s investments have “imposed a broad recusal limiting her ability to complete all of her duties as CDC Director,” HHS spokesman Matt Lloyd said in the statement. “Due to the nature of these financial interests, Dr. Fitzgerald could not divest from them in a definitive time period.”

Fitzgerald’s resignation follows a news report Tuesday that her financial manager bought tobacco and drug stocks after she took the job in July, while selling other stocks that posed a conflict of interest.

She had owned a range of stocks, including holdings in beer and soda companies, the tobacco company Philip Morris International, and a number of healthcare companies. She said she sold the stocks, but in December U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) wrote Fitzgerald saying she was concerned about unresolved financial holdings.

Government documents showed that Fitzgerald was unable to sell certain long-term investments in companies that could prevent her from talking about cancer and prescription drug monitoring programs, wrote Murray.On Tuesday, Politico reported that a month after becoming CDC director, Fitzgerald’s financial manager bought shares in Japan Tobacco and the drug companies Bayer and Merck & Co. Those stocks were later sold, Politico reported.

Fitzgerald could not be reached immediately for comment. Her predecessor, Dr. Tom Frieden, said in a statement that Fitzgerald told him she didn’t know about the purchase of the tobacco stocks.

“I have spoken with Dr. Fitzgerald and believe her when she says that she was unaware that a tobacco company investment had been made, she understands that any affiliation between the tobacco industry and public health is unacceptable, and that when she learned of it, she directed that it be sold,” Frieden said.

Fitzgerald, 71, was a long-time OB-GYN in the Atlanta area, a former major in the U.S. Air Force, and campaigned twice, unsuccessfully, as a Republican candidate for Congress in the 1990s. She led Georgia’s state health department for six years before being tapped for the CDC job.

Recommended Video:

 
 
 
 
 

UN Council Mulls Condemning Iran Over Houthis’ Getting Missiles in Yemen

UN Council Mulls Condemning Iran Over Houthis’ Getting Missiles in Yemen
Britain, the United States, and France want the United Nations Security Council to condemn Iran for failing to ...
READ MORE >
 

President Trump Praises Medical Personnel at Florida Hospital

President Trump Praises Medical Personnel at Florida Hospital
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump visited Broward Health North Hospital in Florida on Feb. 16, ...
READ MORE >
 
US

New Tax Law Brings Hope to Low-Income Communities

New Tax Law Brings Hope to Low-Income Communities
WASHINGTON—An unnoticed provision of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is designed to bring opportunity to underserved communities ...
READ MORE >
 
US

Indictment of 13 Russians by Mueller Shows No Collusion With Trump Team, Other Americans

Indictment of 13 Russians by Mueller Shows No Collusion With Trump Team, Other Americans
The office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russian nationals on Feb. 16 for their alleged scheme ...
READ MORE >
 

Capitalism: How Capitalists Took the Word From Communists

Capitalism: How Capitalists Took the Word From Communists
Capitalism—how can a single word spark so much praise and vitriol simultaneously? How can a word prolifically used ...
READ MORE >