Markets

Altria shares hit after National Cancer Institute director named acting head of the FDA

Key Points
  • Other tobacco shares also fell to their lows of the day on the news. 
  • Sharpless' naming comes after Scott Gottlieb resigned last week from his post as FDA commissioner. Gottlieb called the use of e-cigarettes an "epidemic." He also threatened to pull all e-cigarette products if things did not improve.
A pack of Marlboro cigarettes, left, manufactured by Philip Morris International Inc., a unit of Altria Inc., sits beside packs of Camel cigarettes, manufactured by Reynolds American Inc.
Simon Dawson | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Altria investors don't seem to like the prospects for the cigarette maker under the new acting FDA commissioner.

The company's stock fell as much as 1.6 percent after National Cancer Institute Director Ned Sharpless was named interim head of the agency. Altria shares later closed down 0.46 percent.

Shared of Philip Morris International also fell 057 percent, while British American Tobacco's U.S.-listed shares dipped as much as 0.3 percent before closing slightly higher.

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National Cancer Institute Director will serve as acting FDA chief

Sharpless' naming comes after Scott Gottlieb resigned last week from his post as FDA commissioner. Gottlieb called the use of e-cigarettes an "epidemic." He also threatened to pull all e-cigarette products if things did not improve.

Gottlieb's resignation was initially seen as a positive for the tobacco industry, especially for e-cigarette makers like Juul. Gottlieb successfully pushed Juul — a company in which Altria has a $12.8 billion stake in — to stop selling most of its nicotine flavors.

However, his departure opened the possibility for someone tougher on the industry to take the reigns.