Author Affiliations: Institute for Health Policy Studies (Ms Shamasunder), Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Institute for Health Policy Studies (Dr Bero), University of California, San Francisco.
Corporate diversification allows for well-hidden financial ties between
pharmaceutical and tobacco companies, which can cause a conflict of interest
in the development and marketing of pharmaceutical products. In our investigation
of tobacco company documents released and posted on the Internet as a result
of the Master Settlement Agreement, we have found that these financial ties
have fostered both competition and collaboration between the tobacco and pharmaceutical
industries. We present 3 case studies. One shows how tobacco companies pressured
pharmaceutical companies to scale back their smoking cessation educational
materials that accompanied Nicorette. The second shows how they restricted
to whom the pharmaceutical company could market its transdermal nicotine patch.
In the third case, we show how subsidiary tobacco and pharmaceutical companies
of a parent company collaborated in the production of a nicotine-release gum.
Thus, because tobacco cessation product marketing has been altered as a result
of these financial conflicts, disclosure would serve the interest of public
Shamasunder B, Bero L. Financial Ties and Conflicts of Interest Between Pharmaceutical and Tobacco Companies. JAMA. 2002;288(6):738-744. doi:10.1001/jama.288.6.738