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Business and Finance

Tobacco Trading Scandal Of Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald

Scandals are occurrences that tarnish one’s reputation, primarily an individual who is highly esteemed in society. Scandals result from violating the moral standards of society or somewhat losing one’s integrity. Many a time, people entrusted with high responsibilities and positions of trust end up in scandals by failing to stand firm for what they advocate for and what the public expects of them. The compromise led to shame and a lack of trust from the people who regarded them highly. Scandals are most familiar with public figures such as politicians and celebrities.

A scandal can be involved in sexual abuse, theft, corruption, murder, or a person’s contradiction of societal morals. This research paper is going to cite Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald’s scandal, in which she is alleged to have been found engaging in the tobacco business, and yet she was the director of “The Centers for Disease Control.”

The researcher deemed it wise to do an investigation on this drug dealing affair to bring attention to the public on the need to make a smart decision in electing in their leaders as well as their role as a society to stop the use of drugs such as tobacco. This research had a limited coverage as it affected a specific individual and their personal life, unlike other scandals that have nonstop coverage due to their massive impact on society.

Research Question:

Is it right to engage in drug trading?


Qualitative and quantitative data analysis methods were used to determine the legibility of the claim that Fitzgerald took part in the tobacco business.

Quantitative data detailed the amount of investment that was invested into the business, while qualitative data related to the life story of Dr. Fitzgerald on business and leadership.

The Study Context

The study was conducted among ten executive members of the United States of America. Five members of the committee of “The Centers for Disease Control” sector were also interviewed on the truthfulness of that allegation. Besides, the directors of Japan Tobacco, The Drug maker Merck, Reynolds American, British American Tobacco, Imperial Brands Philip Morris International and Altria Group were interviewed to establish whether Fitzgerald had purchased stocks with the organizations.

Methods of Data Collection

Data was collected through direct interviews with seven directors of leading tobacco companies and various media house personalities. Anonymous questionnaires were also given to the Executive members of the United States of America fillfoututl.

The interviews were not easy to conduct since most people were not willing to be identified as being the ones who spied on Fitzgerald. Therefore, the method never gave much information on her business since many feared for their security and reproach from Fitzgerald.

The questionnaires yielded a lot of information as people were more willing to fill out the questionnaires than to be interviewed. This willingness was because their identity was concealed. They were, therefore, free to express themselves without any fear. Besides, the information gathered from questionnaires was raw and could be much depended upon in this research.

Secondary Data Sources

Secondary sources of information are the ones that had been collected by different individuals for different purposes but were also found relevant for this particular investigation. More information was obtained from the records of significant tobacco companies concerning their shareholders, including those members who were active shareholders and those who had withdrawn their shares from the companies. These assisted the researchers in knowing the times that Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald started buying stocks in tobacco companies and also engaging in the same business on her own. It also helped them understand when she withdrew her shares.

Literature Review

On the literature review, a scandal is defined as an occurrence, action, or decision made by an individual that leads to their downfall and loss of integrity and trust from society, family, and friends, especially when the decision made or action taken is the direct opposite of what they supported. It brings shame and remorse to the individual and may cause them to withdraw from the position they were entrusted.

The review is an investigation that was carried out on January 28, 2018. The study identified that Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald had invested in small businesses in tobacco despite the fact that she was the director of “The Centers for Disease Control (CDC)” in the United States of America. The Wall Street Journal of January 31, 2018, stated that Brenda was guilty of engaging in tobacco businesses. She had mainly purchased shares from seven major tobacco companies in the United States of America. The companies included Japan Tobacco, The Drug Maker Merck, Reynolds American, British American Tobacco, Imperial Brands, Philip Morris International, and Altria Group.

An agency cited Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald’s high interest in money, which reduced her ability to carry out her tasks in her position as the director of “Centers for Disease Control” within the Health and Human Services department. Dr. Tom Frieden stated that Dr. Fitzgerald’s manager had bought shares for her in various organizations without her knowledge. Revelations were also made that she had bought stocks in several other companies. All this interfered with her operation and work and ideally contradicted the fact that she was supposed to curb the use of such drugs instead of advocating for them. Craig Holman from The Consumer Advocacy Group said that the fact that the manager of Dr. Fitzgerald bought the tobacco shares from the company for her was not an excuse for her to own the shares. It was so shocking that a director who was supposed to prevent the use of tobacco and help improve people’s health by reducing cancer was investing in it. The action was utterly unethical as she was doing the direct opposite of what she was supposed to do.

Again, another investigation has been recorded in the past, in which Dr. Fitzgerald made fighting childhood obesity her number one objective and the public ridiculed her for taking a significant amount of financing from the Coca-Cola company. This ridicule was because excessive consumption of sodas results in obesity. Therefore, it was not logical to get sponsorship from a company that promoted obesity. She made it upon the weak argument that obesity declined as a result of physical exercise rather than reducing the number of calories in their consumption.

From the above disposition, it is unmistakable that Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald got herself into a scandal that was even so clear to her conscience, leading to her ultimate resignation from her position. She could not escape the allegations made against her and could not be depended upon to result in an area whose principles she violated. Seemingly, it is a habit that she has cultivated to do things her way, however much she knows that they are wrong.

Data Analysis

The investigations on the business affairs of Dr. Fitzgerald were used to find out her engagement in tobacco investments and the effects it could have on society for a person who held such a position. It involved thorough investigation from multiple media houses and reporters as well as from public citizens. The research enabled us to learn about the media’s take on Fitzgerald’s business in tobacco and its impact on society, moral standards, and professional ethics.


From the observations made in the interviews and data analysis, it was found that the media was shocked to learn that Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald was involved in tobacco trading despite the fact that she was a director in the health sector within the country. It was observed that the public raised doubt about the ethical standards of the government and made inquiries on how such an individual was able to be appointed as a director without ascertaining that she traded in drugs (Simon & Morgan). It led to mistrust of the masses in their government. Others took advantage of it and began selling more openly and freely in their drug businesses. They even demanded rights, as other regular businesses did, to carry out their own work on equal terms.

However, the research had a limited coverage as it was not advisable to dig so much into Fitzgerald’s individual life and bring her a lot of embarrassment.


From the investigations and findings, it is clear that Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald has been and is still a lucrative business lady in tobacco. Her regular trading was because she has been investing in several major tobacco companies such as Japan Tobacco, The Drug Maker Merck, Reynolds American, British American Tobacco, Imperial brands Philip Morris International, and Altria Group, as stated earlier. Fitzgerald has even gone further to carry out the business on her own, with stocks ranging from two thousand to fifteen thousand dollars. It was a rude shock to the media personalities and the broader public that she has been getting involved in such business despite the fact that she was a Director in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sector. Besides that, Dr. Fitzgerald is a gynecologist and medical practitioner, making her actions more astonishing.

Fitzgerald is said to have sold her tobacco stocks on October 26, 2017, before getting sworn in as the director of the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, but soon after taking up the position, she again bought stocks from multiple significant companies in the USA. The media noted that Fitzgerald had cited the abolishment of tobacco as her first objective to achieve as director of the CDC, and yet how ridiculous that she is the very lady who was investing in companies that were involved in selling tobacco! It is even noted that a day after buying her shares in Japan, Fitzgerald went to see the harmful consequences of using tobacco in the CDC tobacco laboratory (Simon and Morgan).

Matthew Meyers, who is the president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said that it was so grieving that a public official such as Fitzgerald could prioritize her profits and esteem them more highly than the health of the people that she had been appointed to serve and to protect. It was such a mock for the same leader to claim that she wanted to stop the use of tobacco, which was the leading killer substance that could be controlled and still yet take part in promoting its business. The media expressed their concern about such individuals who are appointed to such sensitive positions in public without their integrity being thoroughly investigated. They expressed their concern that the government should not be careless about the kind of individuals they appoint to handle such sensitive issues. Apparently, with such people in position, it could be impossible to move a step ahead since the same leaders that we have to prevent the use of drugs are ones who are taking their money to the businesses and making them more successful. The government ought to identify individuals of good conscience, loyalty, and integrity to assume such responsibilities. Individuals who are unmovable and can steadfastly stand for what they advocate.

Still, yet again, it was noted that Fitzgerald had misappropriated funds and was unable to give an account of the finances under her care. She had so much to care about her business rather than carrying out her responsibilities as a director. Instead of promoting disease control and prevention, Fitzgerald took the funds and used them to buy stocks in tobacco companies (Krisberg & Kim). This means that she was on a mission of growing the spread of disease rather than its prevention. Surely, no person can fight against their course and succeed. She had chosen the path of spreading more illness through the harmful effects of using tobacco. She could not achieve disease prevention and control.

The public citizens were astonished at Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald’s contradicting behavior and as well felt betrayed by their leaders. They seemed to lose their trust in the government and felt insecure that soon the government would cease to do its appointed task. Doing such a thing is a violation of the oath that one takes to serve in their respective elected positions to serve the public faithfully (Oliffe & Greaves). It leads to moral degradation and violation of society’s ethnicity. It leads to a loss of hope for the future nation as our young people are being dragged down into the pit of drug addiction. The public felt like the strength and vigor of young people could be drained by such leaders who had no vision for a better future.

Dr. Fitzgerald’s resignation was enough proof that she acknowledged her mistake and that she was not willing to stop her business for the sake of the nation. She had better keep her business than serve the people for their own good(Morgan). It was an open reflection of where society is headed and how the morals are decaying, beginning from the very persons we ought to look upon. If parents are busy promoting drug abuse and making profits at the expense of a future generation, how can they instruct their children in the right way? How can they expect well-cultured young men while they are working out their destruction? How can they hope for future protection from their children when they get old while they are building violence in them? How can even these young people listen to them while their parents are doing the direct opposite of what they tell them? These are just a few of the questions that were raised by the media and echoed still by the masses.

From the above observations, it is clear that the very people that we look up to guide our steps are the very individuals who mislead us. However much we may try to create a better society, we cannot succeed with poor leadership. The community is a reflection of its leadership, from family to the very high ranks in the nation. In whatever leadership position an individual is, they should desire to offer nothing less than the very best. Morals ought to be valued more than material benefits. Leaders need to show the right example lest their actions bring shame, mockery, and distrust among the very people who look up to them (Krisberg & Kim). Society should be informed and take action to eradicate such leaders. They should be alert and watch the steps of individuals who are driving the nation lest they are forced into a ditch. People ought to learn that good leadership and the shaping of morals begins with themselves.


In conclusion, a leader needs to exercise integrity in all facets of their life. Society looks up to them, and it could be such a scandal when it comes into the limelight that those people they esteemed so profoundly could engage themselves in the basest actions against their conscience. It is not proper for one to advocate for one thing and yet do the direct opposite. When a leader does that, they water down their influence among the people. As much as they may have good intentions later on in the future, no person can trust them. It is expedient that leaders should be selfless and devoted individuals with proper discernment of right and wrong. They should never act in the direction that they know is wrong, primarily when they have been entrusted with the principles of the right path to follow.


It is recommended that the government should always check on the integrity of individuals before appointing them leadership positions. Both the academic as well as the moral attainments should be considered while selecting individuals to take various responsibilities. Their interests and willingness to do the right thing in their field of leadership should be thoroughly examined.

Works Cited

Simon, Morgan. Real Impact: The New Economics of Social Change. , 2017. Internet resource.

Oliffe, John L, and Lorraine Greaves. Designing and Conducting Gender, Sex, and Health Research. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, Inc, 2012. Internet resource.

Xiao, Jing J. Handbook of Consumer Finance Research. , 2016. Internet resource. Director Brenda Fitzgerald Resigns After Report She Bought Tobacco Company

Stock. Time. Available at:

Resigns/. Accessed February 15, 2018. Director Brenda Fitzgerald Resigns after Reports Show Investment In Tobacco

Stocks. NPRorg. Available at:


Accessed February 15, 2018.

Krisberg, Kim. “Fitzgerald Takes Reins at CDC; Adams Gets SG Nod.” The Nation’s Health,

vol. 47, no. 7, 2017, pp. 6–6. Stowe, Graham L. Facets of Deception: A Story of Scandal, Corruption, and Manipulation in Wisconsin. , 2014. Print.



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