RJ Reynolds questions California’s ban on flavored tobacco

RJ Reynolds filed a federal lawsuit against California’s ban on flavored tobacco on Wednesday, in today’s bite-sized hospital and healthcare industry news from Colorado, Illinois and California.

  • Colorado: Colorado passed Proposition 122 – a measure that will legalize psychedelics. On Thursday, the measure was approved with 51.4% of the vote. Colorado is the second state to legalize psychedelics after Oregon passed a similar measure in 2020. The state plans to establish licensed “healing centers” where individuals can take psychedelics under supervision. “This is a truly historic moment. Colorado voters saw the benefit of regulated access to natural medicines, including psilocybin, to help people with PTSD, terminal illnesses, depression, anxiety and other mental health issues heal,” said Kevin Matthews and Veronica Lightning Horse Perez, leaders of Naturopathy Colorado, an organization that campaigned for the measure. (Goldberg, STAT11.10.)
  • Illinois: primary care provider VillageMD-A division of Walgreen’s Boots Alliance– announced an $8.9 billion acquisition deal on Monday summit healththe parent company of CityMD emergency centers. According to the companies, the transaction is expected to close on January 1, 2023. Upon completion of the acquisition, VillageMD and Summit Health will employ approximately 20,000 people at more than 680 locations in 26 markets. VillageMD CEO Tim Barry said the acquisition is an “epic milestone” for the company. While VillageMD has historically served as primary care, Barry said it wants to move into multi-specialty care. “For us it’s really just a logical continuation of the journey we’ve been on for a long time,” said Barry. “When you think of how VillageMD can help bring these values-based components of care and accelerate the path Summit has already travelled, and then think of the multi-specialty capabilities Summit can bring to accelerate the path we gone up, it’s just starting to make all the sense in the world.” (Cooper, Wall Street Journal11/7; Reuters/CNBC, 11/7; hudson Modern healthcare11/7)
  • California: RJ Reynolds filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday challenging California’s ban on flavored tobacco. The company, which makes Newport menthol cigarettes and vapor products, filed the lawsuit just a day after voters approved the measure. The law, signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) two years ago, will ban the sale of all flavored tobacco and vapor products, affecting a large chunk of tobacco company sales. Reynolds has requested an injunction to prevent the law from going into effect. The lawsuit drew criticism from supporters of the ban. “This is a company that sells lethal products and is desperate to overcome the will of the people of the state of California — and manipulating the legal system to destroy democracy,” said Desmond Jenson, a senior tobacco control programs attorney at the Center for Public Health Law. (Jewett, New York Times11.10.)