The Connection Between the Anti-Electronic Cigarette Campaign and Big Pharm
Why this list?
American public health organisations have been instrumental in opposing the electronic cigarette, an opposition which in some areas has led to bans on the electronic cigarette.
What many do not realise is that these organisations have a conflict of interests rarely mentioned in their strident press releases. Their activities are funded to the tune of millions of dollars by the pharmaceutical organisations that produce nicotine cessations aids threatened by e-cigarettes.
(According to one industry report, “E-Cigarettes Will Revolutionise the Face of Tobacco Smoking and Could Pose a Threat to the Smoking Cessation Market.)
Coincidentally, these same organisations attack all research that might contradict their claims as being funded by public health organisations, and expel members who query their claims.
Pfizer is the manufacturer of Champix/Chantix. Over four years they are providing 47 million dollars via a Global Health Partnership. Recipients include, ASH International – the organisation which claims that any scientist who defends the electronic cigarette is funded by e-cigarette companies, but fails to declare its own interests – and the American Cancer Society.
Source: https://www.pfizer.com/responsibility/global_health/global_health_partnerships.jsp (Link now removed)
Pfizer has also granted $100,000 to Action on Smoking and Health for the purpose of tobacco research and education and has made ten separate grants to the American Cancer Society, as well as grants to the American Lung Association (including one for $1,500,000).
Source: https://media.pfizer.com/files/responsibility/grants_payments/pfizer_us_grants_cc_q2_2009.pdf (Link now removed) ASH carries no mention of the funding on its accounts.
“GSK funds the American Cancer society in a secretive multi-million pound contract in which the American Cancer Society’s logo appear on every Nicoderm, Nicorette and Commit package and ad.”
According to Bill Godshall of Smokefree Pennsylvania, GSK funds the American Cancer society in a secretive multi-million pound contract in which the American Cancer Society’s logo appear on every Nicoderm, Nicorette and Commit package and ad.
In addition, GSK provides additional grants and funding to the Pennsylvania division of the American cancer society, further grants to the American Cancer Society itself and grants to Tobacco Free Kids – an organisation which Professor Brad Rodu claims are extremists who will eventually be held responsible for the deaths of millions of uniformed smokers. (See: Tobacco Free Kids to Kill Millions[LINK] and https://www.gsk.com/community/grants/us.pdf – link removed since this article was written.)
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Foundation The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation was set up by one of the founders of Johnson and Johnson and holds hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of shares in the company. Over several years the Foundation provided 99 million dollars to promote the idea of a smokeless state.
According to RWJF itself, the purpose of at least some of this funds was to enable political persuasion which the foundation could not engage in itself:
“The program relied heavily on three major health voluntary organizations: the American Cancer Society; the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association. They provided financial support and, in particular, funds to help lobbying efforts which the Foundation could not support directly.”
The RWJF itself directly opposes electronic cigarettes, stating:
“Internet cigarette sales threaten to undermine the nation’s efforts to stem tobacco use and decrease its negative impact on public health.”
On the same section of the website, the RWJF carries studies on how to increase the use of nicotine cessation aids – some of which are produced by the company in which it has 700 million dollars’ worth of shares. Source: https://www.rwjf.org/pr/product.jsp?id=42511 (link since removed).
According to a December 2009 document, RWJF also provided more than a million dollars in funding to Tobacco Free Kids to campaign for FDA jurisdiction over tobacco products. If FDA jurisdiction is extended over e-cigarettes they are likely to be banned for many years while testing is carried out. Source.
The FDA has been criticised for its press release on the e-cigarettes, which mentioned that they contained carcinogens but not the fact that the levels were thousands of times lower than those found in cigarettes. Big pharm funding for the FDA dwarfs all other funding covered here, with industry funding in 2009 estimated to be 600 million dollars. Source: https://www.in-pharmatechnologist.com/Industry-Drivers/FDA-gets-funding-boost-and-task-list-for-09 (link since removed).
According to Dr Sidney Wold, chairman of the Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, this has led to a situation where the culture has become:
“Please the industry. Avoid conflict. Look upon our role as getting out as many drugs as possible.”
Meanwhile, Raymond Woosley M.D, Vice President for Health Sciences at the University of Arizona, a former top candidate to lead the FDA who believes he was rejected because of his focus on drug safety.
His views, if given credence, offer further support to the idea that the FDA is dominated by Big Pharm:
“The budgets of the FDA are determined by lobbyists who call for money to be spent in certain ways… They’re not lobbying for safety. … The pharmaceutical industry doesn’t lobby for safety. They lobby for rapid review, rapid access to the marketplace. They haven’t lobbied for drug safety; no one has.”
Senator Lautenberg wrote a letter to the FDA demanding that electronic cigarettes be banned. He neglected to mention in the letter that he had received funding from pharmaceutical companies to the tune of $126,000. Source.
Attributions: Thanks to E Cigarette National who pointed out Pfizer’s general funding of ASH, to Professor Siegel for pointing out the specific $100,000 grant from Pfizer to ASH and to Bill Godshall of Smoke Free Pennsylvania for informing us (in a comment!) about GSK’s funding of the American Cancer Society.
Our investigation is ongoing. Any information will both appreciated and attributed to the person/website that discovered it.