Georgetown’s O’Neill Institute Names Former FDA Official as Tobacco Control and Food & Drug Law Program Director
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WASHINGTON (Dec. 19, 2016) — The O’Neill Institute for National & Global Health Law at Georgetown Law has named Eric Lindblom, JD, as director of its Tobacco Control and Food & Drug Law Program.
Lindblom, a long-time tobacco control legal and policy expert, is a former director of the Office of Policy at FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, and only recently left federal employment. Lindblom previously served as a senior scholar at the O’Neill Institute while on a special detail from the FDA.
Lindblom’s work at the O’Neill Institute will focus on both domestic and international tobacco control, as well as the public health regulation of food, alcohol, soda, medical drugs and legalized cannabis.
“One of the strongest examples of how law and policy can directly impact health is in the area of tobacco and food law, regulation and taxation,” says Lawrence O. Gostin, faculty director for the O’Neill Institute. “As an institute, we focus on examining and developing laws and policies that can be utilized as effective tools for public health. Our work is intended to positively impact people across the globe, so maintaining a strong tobacco, food and drug law program through Eric Linblom’s leadership is critical to our mission. He is a world-class scholar and passionate advocate for the public’s health. It is a privilege to welcome him to the O’Neill Institute leadership team.”
One of Lindblom’s primary objectives is to examine policies related to the implementation of tobacco control within the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC). The WHO FCTC aims to reduce smoking by implementing evidence based tobacco control measures.
Gostin adds, “The evidence demonstrates vividly that a range of tobacco control laws – graphic images and plain packaging, taxation, marketing bans – can drive smoking rates to historic low levels. The O’Neill Institute works closely with WHO, Tobacco Free Kids, and other global health leaders to advocate for tobacco control. We work with countries and civil society throughout the world on new tobacco control laws and join litigation against the tobacco industry. This approach has saved millions of lives.”
Lindblom also hopes to work closely with public health researchers. “By providing relevant legal and policy context, we hope to help researchers design and implement projects that will more directly and effectively inform public health policymaking,” Lindblom says. “We can also help them to present their findings in more policy-relevant and policy-influential ways.”
Lindblom’s focus on tobacco control is rooted in both advocacy and legislative affairs. Prior to starting at FDA in 2011, Lindblom worked for more than a decade with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids becoming its general counsel and director for policy research, and he started his professional career as a legislative aide for a member of Congress.
Lindblom has also published several insightful analyses of different public health issues, including e-cigarettes, nicotine reduction, and how to work within First Amendment constraints on regulating commercial advertising and product labeling.
Lindblom’s understanding of product marketing, corporate political and economic influence, regulatory cost-benefit analyses, applicable laws, and legislative and regulatory drafting provides a solid basis for developing sound public health policy recommendations that can withstand legal challenges.
“Eric brings a unique understanding of how one of the world’s top regulatory agencies, the FDA, works to protect consumer safety. This knowledge is critical as the Institute works to navigate complicated policy issues ahead both here and abroad,” Gostin adds.
Eric Lindblom earned his J.D. from Harvard Law School (cum laude) and he has a BA in political science from Yale University (cum laude with distinction in the major).
The O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University is the premier center for health law, scholarship, and policy. Its mission is to contribute to a more powerful and deeper understanding of the multiple ways in which law can be used to improve the public’s health, using objective evidence as a measure. The O’Neill Institute seeks to advance scholarship, science, research, and teaching that will encourage key decision-makers in the public, private, and civil society to employ the law as a positive tool for enabling more people in the United States and throughout the world to lead healthier lives.