The World Self-Medication Federation has directly attacked the electronic cigarette - and for the first time their motivation has been laid bare.
In the past we have had to dig into financial statements for evidence that NRT producers were behind a concerted campaign to discredit the e-cigarette. That digging around found that the anti-smoking organisations that were campaigning against the electronic cigarette, a device which UK Health Security Agency argue is at least 95 percent less harmful than smoking, had been funded by the producers of nicotine replacements products.
These organisations, willing to spend millions manipulating the press, were unable to answer simple questions about just why they opposed the e-cigarette:
Now the WSFM has no qualms admitting who is behind its attack:
WSMI members are world leaders in the manufacture and supply of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) products...Source: WSMI
Barrier to Entry
The most attractive businesses to investors are ones which have a barrier to entry.
When a company has a moat around it that can prevent other companies from easily entering their industry, they can control their markets and raise prices to the maximum consumers can bear.
In contrast, where there is limitless competition companies are forced to compete, either on price or on quality.
Pharmaceutical companies had this moat. Few companies could afford the years of testing and inflated prices charged by regulatory authorities (the FDA charge many times what the Vapers Club has been quoted for private research into the electronic cigarette - research which has been repeatedly blocked by the FDA.)
And what company outside the industry could boast not only of a cosy relationship with regulatory authorities, but of authorities staffed by previous employees?
Source: The Pharma LetterAnd the UK pharmaceutical industry can do even better than that - not only do provide the MHRA with staff, they even pay those staff!
Nicotine Replacement Products
Pharmaceutical companies use their power to market NRT aids.
NRT products have been intensively researched and developed for effectiveness, safety, adverse effects, cost and cost-effectiveness.Source: WSMI (webpage since removed)
Only problem is, they don't work!
Source: Tobacco Analysis Blog
Of course, with convincing marketing, ineffective products do not matter. In fact, you can even fool smokers into trying product after ineffective product - a nice recurring market for big pharm.
"I tried the patch but I was allergic to it ... I tried the gum but it made my gums and my teeth ache and hurt... I did not try Chantix but I had two friends try it but got, ah, I don’t know, crazy...I tried using lollipops or candies as an oral fixation. I got 14 cavities but I still smoked..."New Competitors
But then came along electronic cigarette companies... and, according to a Biopharm industry study, the moat was gone.
Source: Velvet Glove Iron Fist
The above screen shot shows evidence of industry fears which, since we and other blogs highlighted it, have been removed from the bioportfolio website:
Now the industry is attacking.
Electronic nicotine delivery systems ... fall in a regulatory gap in many countries, escaping regulation as medicines (because no medical claims are made) and avoiding the controls applicable to tobacco products (because they do not contain tobacco).i.e. Suppliers do not need millions of dollars to bribe/lie their way into existence.
Source: WSMI (webpage since removed)
To attack, the same industry that came up with suicide drug chantix/champix is throwing doubt on their safety.
By contrast, electronic nicotine delivery systems such as electronic cigarettes are not endorsed or registered as medicines and lack scientific evidence supporting their useSource: WSMI
However, what must be maddening to the industry is that scientists and experts not in big pharm's payroll are throwing their support behind the electronic cigarette.
Indeed, Dr Joel Nitzkin, Chair of the Tobacco Control Task Force for the American Association of Public Health Physicians, told us
...we have every reason to believe that the hazard posed by e-cigarettes would be much lower than one percent of the hazard posed by cigarettes."Meanwhile, studies have shown that constituent ingredients of electronic cigarettes are similar to the very nicotine cessation aids sold by the pharmaceutical companies, that e-cigarettes can relieve nicotine cravings, that e-cigarette users can improve their health by using the devices AND that big pharm's NRTs do not address the smoking stimuli satisfied by both cigarettes and e-cigarettes.
But with huge pockets, vast influence and the regulatory bodies in their pockets, does big pharm need to worry?