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December 18, 2002

Relationships Between Pharmaceutical and Tobacco Companies

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior Editor


Not Available

JAMA. 2002;288(23):2973. doi:10.1001/jama.288.23.2973-JLT1218-5-2

To the Editor: Mr Shamasunder and Dr Bero1 did not mention conflicts of interest at Japan Tobacco, Inc (JT). Although JT, Japan's former monopoly, was privatized in 1985, the Japanese ministry of finance still owns two thirds of the company's stock. In 1999, JT acquired the non-US international tobacco operations of RJR Nabisco, Inc and became the world's third largest tobacco producer. In addition to tobacco, JT also markets pharmaceuticals, food, and other products. For example, they have been marketing drugs such as the antiemetic azasetron hydrochloride for patients with cancer. I have previously argued that JT is attempting to profit from tobacco-related diseases.2 Nonetheless, JT says it is making concerted efforts to grow its pharmaceutical business into a stable source of earnings.3

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