CDC Director Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald resigns following stock controversy: 5 things to know

Brenda Fitzgerald, MD, resigned from her post as CDC director Wednesday. The resignation follows an investigative report from Politico, which revealed she invested in tobacco and drug company stock after taking her post at the health agency.

Here are five things to know.

1. Dr. Fitzgerald bought stock in about a dozen companies after taking the helm at the CDC July 7, 2017, according to federal documents obtained by Politico.

2. Her investments, which totaled tens of thousands of dollars, included stakes in Merck & Co., Bayer, Humana and Japan Tobacco — one of the world's largest tobacco companies.

3. Dr. Fitzgerald toured the CDC's Tobacco Laboratory, where researchers study the adverse effects of smoking, on Aug. 9, 2017 — one day after investing in Japan Tobacco, according to financial forms from HHS' Office of Government Ethics and calendars Politico obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

4. Dr. Fitzgerald continued to purchase stock through September 2017, before selling her tobacco shares on Oct. 26 and her remaining stock holdings above $1,000 by Nov. 21.

5. HHS spokesperson Matt Lloyd issued the following statement Monday morning, regarding Dr. Fitzgerald's resignation.

"This morning Secretary Azar accepted Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald's resignation as Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Fitzgerald owns certain complex financial interests that have imposed a broad recusal limiting her ability to complete all of her duties as the CDC Director. Due to the nature of these financial interests, Dr. Fitzgerald could not divest from them in a definitive time period. After advising Secretary Azar of both the status of the financial interests and the scope of her recusal, Dr. Fitzgerald tendered, and the Secretary accepted her resignation. The Secretary thanks Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald for her service and wishes her the best in all her endeavors."

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