Here's a story that should really make your blood boil. As it turns out, several very well-known public health groups and organizations (that are opposed to e-cigarettes) have been accepting millions of dollars on the side from the Big Pharma companies that manufacture "smoking cessation" drugs.
In fact, and according to the financial contribution report released by Pfizer (the maker of CHANTIX), several of these organizations, that have been pressing for a ban on e-cigarettes, have, in fact, received millions of dollars from them (Pfizer).
In case you don't know, Pfizer makes CHANTIX (Varenicline), a smoking cessation prescription drug. And yeah, they stand to lose A LOT of money if e-cigarettes continue to become more and more popular, as they have been. In other words, the growing popularity of e-cigarettes translates to less money in the pockets of the Big Pharma companies that make smoking cessation products.
Major Conflict Of Interest?
I first became aware of this, thanks to a recent article written by Dr. Siegel, a Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at Boston University School of Public Health.
According to his article, "These organizations have repeatedly failed to disclose their financial
interests in Big Pharma when making statements opposing electronic
So how much money have they received from Big Pharma? Well, here's the rundown...
The following figures represent the money received (from Pfizer alone!) by each group for 2011, and the first two quarters of 2012:
- American Academy of Pediatrics: $720,800
- American Cancer Society: $252,750
- American Heart Association: $136,000
- American Lung Association: $190,250
- Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids: $100,000
- American Medical Association: $857,500
- American Legacy Foundation: $300,000
- Action on Smoking and Health: $200,000
The grand total is almost $2.8 million!
And just so you know, the above groups are the main groups that called for the removal of e-cigarettes from the market place!
Note: Figures based on Dr. Siegel's article, referencing Pfizer's "Transparency in Grants" financial contribution report.
More from Dr. Siegel's article Anti-Smoking Groups that Opposed Electronic Cigarettes Accepted Money to the Tune of $2.8 Million from Pfizer Alone in 2011-2012:
"These figures illustrate how strong a financial interest the major
national anti-smoking groups have in Big Pharma and help explain the
entrenched position of these groups against electronic cigarettes. These
data also help explain why these groups continue to promote drug
therapy for smoking cessation despite evidence of its dismal rates of
Causing More Harm Than Good?
These groups and organizations called for the removal and/or ban of e-cigarettes. Each group submitted an amicus brief urging that the D.C. District Court allow the FDA to ban e-cigarettes and regulate them under the Federal Food Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act.)...even though e-cigarette manufactures weren't making any therapeutic claims regarding their e-cig products.
According to Dr. Siegel, "Had the recommended action of these
groups been taken, literally thousands of ex-smokers would instead be
smokers today because electronic cigarettes have been their means to
achieve smoke-free status."
Public Health Groups More Interested In Money Than Health?
It's also important to mention that NONE of these anti-smoking groups mentioned their financial ties to Pfizer or Big Pharma in their amicus briefs. They also fail to mention this potential conflict of interest on their websites, in public statements, etc., while griping on and on about how e-cigarettes are bad for your health.
In fact, each of these groups has taken money from a Big Pharma company that is (coincidentally?) a direct competitor to e-cigarettes. And we're not talking about pocket change here. In fact, each organization took/accepted at least $100,000 (from Pfizer alone) just within the 18-month period mentioned above.
So who the hell knows what other money they've gotten from Big Pharma and the like over time! Scary and disgusting, in my opinion.
These days, when public health groups start to fight for one cause or another, you absolutely MUST do the following things:
1. Take it with a grain of salt (at least at first)
2. Follow the money!
3. Find out from where their so-called "funding" is coming.
4. Compare their data to the data of those who have NO FINANCIAL TIES to competing companies.
It really is a sad state of affairs when the organizations that are "supposed" to be looking out for our health allow themselves to accept money from companies, especially the companies whose products are much worse than the alternative they're fighting against.