Er is een typische observatie te maken als je ziet hoe supertabaksfabrikant Philip Morris, met name in de VS, omgaat met haar eigen belangen: ze pleit voor overheidsregulering van haar producten, ze maakt een deal in de MSA om. over de ruggen van de rokers die het uiteindelijk betalen, miljarden aan de noodlijdende VS overheden over te maken in de komende 25 jaar en op hun website lijken ze bijna roomser dan de paus als het gaat om schuldbekennen en de schadelijkheid van tweedehands rook.
Hoe valt dit toch te verklaren?
Op een forum in de VS beschrijft iemand, vergezeld van degelijke informatie, hoe dit in elkaar zou kunnen zitten. Heeft de tabaksindustrie als nicotinefabrikant financieel belang in de farmaceutische industrie als nicotinefabrikant? Levert Philip Morris de ruwe nicotine aan de farmaceuten?
Zijn Big Tobacco en Big Pharma twee handen op één buik? Oordeel zelf!
I’ve been accused of touting conspiracy theories on this forum already, and I deny that as regards any of my previous posts.
However, what I’m posting now is a shameless conspiracy theory, based mostly on my own conjecture (but I do have some documentation that indirectly supports it). (Maggie might find this interesting—I certainly do—and so should anyone else with any curiosity regarding large pharmaceuticals and their role in this debate.)
Two questions I have asked repeatedly on this forum are (1) “Who provides the nicotine for Big Pharmaceuticals’ nicotine replacement products?” and (2) “Why hasn’t Big Tobacco been putting up much of a fight against the smoking bans?”
I make no secret of my suspicion that these 2 questions are related. But it’s difficult to find any solid info on the subject. Probably because, as stated in the Journal of the American Medical Association, “neither tobacco nor pharmaceutical companies publicly disclose [their] ties.” Well, while Googling around on the subject of Big Tobacco, I just found some interesting information.
An article published by the UC San Francisco news office http://pub.ucsf.edu/newsservices/releases/2003072253 summarizes the JAMA report quoted above. The report details how, in the early 90s, Big Tobacco was strong-arming the pharmaceutical companies to keep them from threatening its markets. (Although one case is a great deal more surprising and interesting—see below.) This helps establish the idea that cigarettes and pharmaceutical nicotine are competing products. Big Tobacco was bullying Big Drug in those days, but things have changed since then: First, the Master Settlement Agreement of 1998 hit Big Tobacco right in the pocketbook, possibly making them think twice about the future of cigarette-peddling. Second, the pharmaceutical companies have become huge behemoths, wielding international clout and attracting investors in vast numbers.
Now to lay my cards on the table: I think Big Tobacco is tacitly colluding with the anti-smoking campaign. They don’t really fight the smoking bans (they decided to sit the New York debate out, and all they’re doing in Washington is throwing a token couple of grand at the Bar & Restaurant Workers). They are probably the suppliers of raw nicotine for pharmaceutical products. These products likely promise a better overall return for them than tobacco does, in today’s climate of liability lawsuits. And in my opinion, this analysis fits the feel of the pro-ban campaigns: All the wrong people support smoking bans—airlines, restaurant chains, big corporations, Wall Street tycoons like Michael Bloomberg and Joe Cherner, television networks like NBC (“the more you know”), astroturf (rather than grassroots) campaigns, and the same national media that brought us Weapons of Mass Destruction … to name a few. These are the kinds of people that Big Tobacco used to keep in its pocket.
Anyway, here are a few quotes from the UCSF article that bolster my suspicions:
“The examination of financial ties and conflicts of interest revealed that the parent company of one tobacco manufacturer also owned a firm that made nicotine gum, so the company profited both from selling tobacco products and drugs to break the tobacco addiction.
“…[A] Swedish-owned holding company, Procordia AB, held controlling financial interest in both a pharmaceutical company that manufactured nicotine gum to quit smoking and a tobacco company that sold a tobacco chewing gum designed to keep the habit going.
“The researchers point out that by collaborating and sharing technology among its holdings, ‘Procordia AB had the potential to benefit financially from creating an addiction through tobacco sales that could then be treated with their nicotine replacement therapies.‘”
[The article quotes Lisa Bero, PhD, UCSF professor of clinical pharmacy and health policy:] “‘In today’s business climate, the ethics of financial ties should be discussed more openly. We should ask if a company should be able to profit both from selling an addictive product and a drug to treat the addiction.‘ Bero is senior author on the JAMA paper.
“…Their analysis stems from a study of 187 internal tobacco industry documents dating from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s accessed on the web sites of Philip Morris, RJ Reynolds, Lorillard and the Tobacco Institute. The researchers don’t know if the conflicts of interest they uncovered still exist, since neither tobacco nor pharmaceutical companies publicly disclose such ties.”