Juul has successfully convinced the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to delay the Food and Drug Administration’s ban on its products. The agency recently banned Juul from selling and distributing its e-cigarette pens and pods in the US after a comprehensive two-year review. It ordered the company to remove its products from the market and has even started telling retailers from pull them from shelves. This temporary reprieve will allow Juul to keep selling its vape pens and pods — and will allow retailers to keep carrying them without the fear of facing penalties — while the court reviews its appeal on the FDA’s decision.
In its request for an emergency stay, Juul called the FDA ban “arbitrary and capricious.” It also said that the agency issued the ruling after “immense political pressure from Congress,” because it became politically convenient for them to blame Juul for the popularity of vaping among young people, “even though several of its competitors now have a larger market share and much higher underage-use rates.”
Despite Juul’s accusation, the FDA didn’t mention youth vaping in its decision. Instead, the agency said it was banning the company’s products, because it didn’t submit sufficient evidence proving that potentially harmful chemicals don’t leach from its proprietary pods into the vapor that users inhale. The agency explained: “…some of the company’s study findings raised concerns due to insufficient and conflicting data – including regarding genotoxicity and potentially harmful chemicals leaching from the company’s proprietary e-liquid pods – that have not been adequately addressed and precluded the FDA from completing a full toxicological risk assessment of the products named in the company’s applications.”
Juul, of course, disagreed that it hasn’t provided sufficient information and data to the agency. In a statement it sent to Engadget, the company said: “In our applications, which we submitted over two years ago, we believe that we appropriately characterized the toxicological profile of Juul products, including comparisons to combustible cigarettes and other vapor products, and believe this data, along with the totality of the evidence, meets the statutory standard of being appropriate for the protection of the public health.”
Juul has a long history of butting heads with the FDA, particularly over underage vaping. Its fruit-flavored vape products were once pretty popular among young people until it suspended their sales and stuck to selling menthol and tobacco-flavored pods. Juul also faced a Federal Trade Commission and a House investigation into whether its marketing efforts targeted teens. Things have changed over the past few years: According to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most high school students that use e-cigarettes now favor Puff Bar over any other brand.
According to The New York Times, the court gave Juul until Monday to file an additional motion. The FDA will then have until July 7th to respond to that. It still remains to be seen whether Juul will be able to continue selling its vaping pens and pods in the US throughout the course of its appeal. Sources told The Wall Street Journal that Juul has started exploring its options if it fails to reverse the ban completely, including filing for bankruptcy.
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