UCSF: Doctor Paid to Downplay Link Between Secondhand Smoke and SIDS
Mar. 7 (BCN) - University of California, San Francisco researchers have released a report that shows a tobacco company had a paid consultant doctor his scientific article in order to downplay the links between secondhand smoke and sudden infant death synd
The 2001 article, commissioned by Philip Morris International and published in a medical journal, was cited in at least 19 other papers that UCSF researchers claim misled experts, physicians and their patients.
Philip Morris executives reviewed and suggested changes to the first draft of the article, which concluded that secondhand smoke increases the risk of SIDS.
The paper's final version cast doubt on the connection, according to the UCSF study of tobacco industry documents.
The company allocated as much as $100,000 for the consultant's project, the study shows.
A Philip Morris spokeswoman said today that Frank Sullivan, the consultant, was not pressed by executives to submit an altered version of his research for publication.
"He remained entirely free to publish his review without including our comments and without restriction," said Jennifer Golisch.
In 1992, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency acknowledged the links between smoke and SIDS, a finding reinforced in 1997 by the California Environmental Protection Agency, according to medical officials.
Dr. Stanton Glantz, director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at UCSF, said that the recent study of formerly secret documents casts light on the nature of publishing work funded by tobacco companies.
Ideas presented in the 2001 article place "infants everywhere at increased risk," he said.
The Philip Morris documents were made available as part of a 1998 settlement in which tobacco manufacturers agreed to pay states billions of dollars and curb efforts to discount studies that link smoking and disease.