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The physician running the U.S. Food and Drug Administration stunned tobacco companies when he said the agency had plans for rules to slash cigarettes’ nicotine content. Maybe they should have seen something like that coming.

Scott Gottlieb has shaken things up in his 81 days on the job. He’s proposed major policy shifts to ease regulations on some companies, such as in the way generic-drug applications are processed so that cheaper medicines can reach consumers faster. The agency has taken other unprecedented steps to interpret some rules more strictly, such as by requesting that a pharmaceutical company pull a powerful opioid pain medication off the market because of potential abuse.

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