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August 9, 2000

Investment of Health Insurers and Mutual Funds in Tobacco Stocks

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Contributing EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Executive Deputy EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2000;284(6):697. doi:10.1001/jama.284.6.691

To the Editor: In 1996, the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates resolved that "all physicians, health professionals, medical schools, hospitals, public health advocates and citizens . . . divest of any tobacco holdings (including mutual funds that include tobacco holdings); and specifically calls on all life and health insurance companies and HMOs to divest of any tobacco holdings."1 Just before this call to divest, we noted that insurers, including some of the largest owners of health maintaince organizations (HMOs), invested heavily in tobacco.2 Prudential owned tobacco stock worth $248 million; MetLife owned $15 million; Travelers, almost $90 million; and Cigna, $75 million. Four years later have insurers heeded the AMA's call? And what of the mutual funds that many physicians rely on as the cornerstone of their financial planning?

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