Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Contributing EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Executive Deputy EditorIndividualAuthor
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?
Himmelstein DU, Woolhandler S, Boyd JW. Investment of Health Insurers and Mutual Funds in Tobacco Stocks. JAMA. 2000;284(6):697. doi:10.1001/jama.284.6.691