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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Two days after getting the green light to market the new product, Murray Kessler, chairman, president and CEO of Lorillard, said Newport Non-Menthol Gold represents a "huge opportunity for the company." The product, which will be available as Newport Non-Menthol Gold Box 100s and Newport Non-Menthol Gold Box, is the locally-based company's first premium non-menthol, non-full-flavor cigarette.
Kessler explained that Newport Non-Menthol Gold, which will be priced in line with Newport Red, has been preferred by a margin of two to one in consumer tests.
Lorillard submitted marketing authorization applications for Newport Non-Menthol Gold Box 100s and Newport Non-Menthol Gold Box to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) through its substantial equivalence (SE) pathway in October 2011, said Neil Wilcox, senior vice president and chief compliance officer at Lorillard. Since that time, the company has been proactively working with the FDA, he added.
In November 2012, the FDA sent an additional seven questions to Lorillard about the applications -- to which the company responded with 3,600 pages of documents, according to Wilcox.
Working through the FDA's backlog of SE applications is a priority for Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products, who joined the agency in March. On Tuesday, Lorillard became the first tobacco company to receive approvals on SE applications.
That same day, the FDA rejected four other applications without revealing the details of those applications. Kessler noted that none of the rejected applications were submitted by Lorillard.