Tobacco companies seek to pay $300bn as lawsuit settlement

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: (Published 26 April 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:1217
  1. Terri Rutter
  1. Boston, Massachusetts

    The United States tobacco industry is moving towards a historic settlement over compensation for tobacco related illnesses. Discussions have centred on an industry settlement of $300bn (£188bn) in return for immunity from future litigation.

    In meetings that lasted for two weeks representatives from the two largest US tobacco companies, RJR Nabisco Holdings and Philip Morris, and their lawyers met with attorneys general from at least 22 states and with other interested parties.

    News of a possible $300bn settlement caused tobacco shares to rise.


    Although all sides admitted that the talks were only in the early stages and may not succeed, tobacco companies are clearly eager to negotiate an agreement that would protect them from current and future lawsuits. So far, 23 states have filed suits seeking reimbursement for medical costs for treating patients with smoking related illness and countless suits have been filed by individual people and families.

    The settlement under discussion would entail the tobacco industry paying up to $300bn into a fund to be paid …

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