1-25-18 2:31 PM EST | Email Article
By Betsy McKay and Saabira Chaudhuri 

A Food and Drug Administration advisory committee offered a mixed assessment Thursday of Philip Morris International Inc.'s request to market its new IQOS tobacco-heating device in the U.S. as less harmful than cigarettes.

The panel of scientific experts voted overwhelmingly against Philip Morris's proposed claim that switching completely to IQOS can reduce the risk of tobacco-related diseases. It also voted against the claim that IQOS presents less risk of harm than continuing to smoke cigarettes. However, the committee voted in favor of a claim that IQOS significantly reduces the body's exposure to harmful chemicals.

The committee will continue to vote on more questions until the meeting concludes, expected around 3 p.m. Eastern.

Philip Morris shares were down 2.7% following those early votes. Shares of Altria Group Inc. -- Philip Morris's U.S. partner, which plans to market IQOS in the U.S. -- dropped 2.1%.

Morgan Stanley analyst Matthew Grainger described the initial share responses as "unwarranted" saying the meetings "have progressed as expected and show balance in assessing the data."

The committee's ultimate findings will go to the FDA, which must decide whether to allow Altria to market IQOS in the U.S. and to make a claim that the product is safer than smoking conventional cigarettes. The FDA doesn't have to follow the findings of its advisers but frequently does.

Write to Betsy McKay at betsy.mckay@wsj.com and Saabira Chaudhuri at saabira.chaudhuri@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 25, 2018 14:31 ET (19:31 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2018 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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