Philip Morris did it for profits

 
Published: Wednesday 15 December 2004

Even as the us government's us$280 billion lawsuit against the cigarette industry takes its course, tobacco major Philip Morris is mired in a fresh controversy. A www.thelancet.com article charges the company with concealing information on tobacco research. It says the company covertly acquired a research facility in Germany in the 1970s and created a complex mechanism to ensure the research conducted there wasn't linked to it. The research papers published by the company not only provided selective information but also contradicted actual findings.

While the unpublished documents hold second-hand smoke more dangerous than first-hand smoke, most public statements the company's made cast doubts on the dangers of passive smoking. "We believe it is essential that those involved in reviewing evidence on smoking and health should be aware of the seemingly selective nature of what is eventually published by some scientists with links to the industry,"says Martin McKee of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the uk, one of the authors of the article.

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