Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Brenda Fitzgerald resigned on Wednesday after a report came out the previous day from Politico saying that she had bought stock from tobacco companies.
In a statement she made in November, Dr. Fitzgerald said “Too many Americans are harmed by cigarette smoking, which is the nation’s leading preventable cause of death and disease,” and vowed to “continue to use proven strategies to help smokers quit and to prevent children from using any tobacco products.”
According to the report, Dr. Fitzgerald had “bought tens of thousands of dollars in new stock holdings in at least a dozen companies.” According to Politico, the day after she bought the stock Dr. Fitzgerald “toured the CDC’s Tobacco Laboratory, which researches how the chemicals in tobacco harm human health.”
Alex Azar, the Secretary of Health and Human Services announced the resignation of Dr. Fitzgerald, saying in a statement that the former director’s “complex financial interests imposed a broad recusal limiting her ability to complete all her duties has CDC director.”
Azar made the decision to accept Dr. Fitzgerald’s resignation on his third day running the HHS agency, leaving the CDC leaderless during the nation’s worst flu epidemic in the past decade.