Philip Morris Apologizes for Czech Report
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Tobacco giant Philip Morris Cos. Inc. has apologized for a widely criticized company-funded study that said the Czech Republic reaps a financial benefit when smokers die early, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
``We understand that this was not only a terrible mistake, but that it was wrong,'' Steven Parrish, a senior vice president, was quoted in the newspaper. ``To say it's totally inappropriate is an understatement.''
Company officials last month distributed an economic analysis in the Czech Republic that concluded cigarettes are not a drain on the country's budget, in part because the government saves money on health care, pensions and housing when smokers die prematurely.
Anti-tobacco advocates and others roundly criticized the report when it came to light in news accounts last week.
According to the Journal, Sen. Dianne Feinstein wrote a letter to Philip Morris chief executive Geoffrey Bible after reading about the report. Bible answered in a letter saying that the funding and release of the report ``exhibited terrible judgement as well as a complete and unacceptable disregard of basic human values.''
Philip Morris shares closed Wednesday at $44.68.