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Tobacco company set up network of sympathetic scientists

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: (Published 23 May 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:1553
  1. Clare Dyer, legal correspondence
  1. BMJ

    The US tobacco giant Philip Morris set up a network of scientists throughout Europe who were paid to cast doubt on the risks of passive smoking and highlight other possible causes of respiratory problems, according to confidential documents from the company's law firm released on the internet.

    The company's consultants included “an editor” of the Lancet, an adviser to a Commons select committee, and members of working groups of the International Agency for Research in Cancer, claims a memo from the US lawyers Covington and Burling.

    Clues in the documents point to the Lancet contact as the late Petr Skrabanek, who was not an editor but a regular contributor who wrote editorials among other articles. Robin Fox, the Lancet's editor from 1990 to 1995, said it was “very likely” that Dr Skrabanek, who was an associate professor of community …

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