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Bad News for Tobacco May Translate to Drug Companies in Future

The US Justice Department is seeking nearly 1/3 of a TRILLION dollars in a megatrial and fraud case that could cripple the leading U.S. cigarette firms if they lose. In the federal case, prosecutors accuse Big Tobacco of a vast marketing, legal and health conspiracy over five decades in which they lied about the dangers of smoking, manipulated nicotine levels and targeted the youth market. Drawing from millions of pages of legal testimony, scientific research and the tobacco industry's own documents, prosecutors charge that the fraudulent scheme led to "extraordinary profits for the past half-century" and has had "devastating consequences for the public's health."

What did the cigarette industry do?

  • Lied to the public and manipulated nicotine levels in their products. Tobacco officials falsely claimed in public statements and in legal and congressional testimony that nicotine is not addictive, despite overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary, prosecutors say.
  • Targeted youths. While denying it, tobacco companies aimed their marketing campaigns at children, teens and young adults
  • Destroyed and concealed documents Tobacco firms allegedly hid or trashed smoking-related records that might hurt them in lawsuits and government investigations.

Folks this is SMALL POTATOES compared to what the drug companies are doing. Their fraud is far more sophisticated and subtle. They earn a lot more than the tobacco industry. These companies could laugh off a $280 billion judgment against them as they have far more money in the bank. The problem is though that they have far more congressional lobbyists than any other group and their powerful financial influence currently insulates them from similar prosecution.

However, the truth will eventually be told and I hope to see in my lifetime similar trials against the even more deadly pharmaceutical industry.

USA Today September 21, 2004

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