Tues, AM Session: Bernick v. Brandt II

September 28, 2004 1:48 pm by Gene Borio

David Bernick finished his cross examination of Allan Brandt today, scoring no major David Kessler-style hits.

He continued presenting documents meant to portray the CTR in a more beneficent light. The SAB, he claimed, approved– and the CTR funded — a wealth of studies in the full 3-circle areas Brandt had talked about–including the area of smoking and health.

Bernick presented documents that discussed making the CTR into a PR arm; he noted there was no evidence such plans were ever implemented. He established there was no evidence the CTR was “told” what to do. (”They were monitored,” Brandt said. “I didn’t ask you if they were monitored.”) Bernick wanted Brandt to aver there was no study showing the CTR was researching a wide variety of aspects of disease as a way of avoiding the health issue of smoking and cigarettes.

Bernick presented more documents on the “not established” theme, including documents from the SAB, an assessment by SG Richmond,

He presented various documents that contradicted in some form documents Brandt had used in his Direct Testimony. The most prominent of these was a document concerning the “Trip Report.”

This turned out to be the report by 3 BAT scientists, Bentley, Felton and Reid, who traveled to the USA and concluded that most industry scientists believed smoking caused cancer. Their conclusion read in part, “Although there remains some doubt as to the proportion of the total lung cancer mortality which can fairly be attributed to smoking, scientific opinion in the U.S.A. does not now seriously doubt that the statistical correlation is real and reflects a cause and effect relationship.”

Bernick introduced an interesting document from a TIRC Science Advisory Board meeting, wherein SAB head Leon Jacobson “asked Bentley point blank if he accepted the conclusions of the MRC (Medical Research Council). After long hesitation, he said no. Jacobson said he was glad to bear that. He, personally, did not think there was any relation between smoking and lung cancer.”

Bernick pressed Brandt to ascertain who was correct–the scientists’ report, or this document. It seemed an unfair either/or, which Brandt eluded fairly well.

Bernick also established in hostile terms that Brandt had never read the testimonies of the men who wrote the documents he cited in his DT. He made specific mention of Panzer’s testimony. We did not hear any more on this testimony (yet).

Bernick actually brought up the Yeaman “We are in the business of selling nicotine” document, saying its main subject was the Hippo 1 and 2 projects and the Griffiths filter–ie, Yeaman was seeking a safer cigarette, something then being suggested by the medical community also.

Bernick explored consumer knowledge of the day, averring that the 54 studies were “headline news,” and that a ‘54 Gallup poll found that 90% had heard smoking may have harmful health effects.

Brandt said picking one item out of a poll is not instructive, and many things go into a poll, and they are usually more complicated than can be expressed in the results from one question. They are often used to generalize from one response, he said. But Brandt was willing to grant Bernick the point. “I’m not surprised people would think it harmful. ‘Harmful’ is such a general term.”

Bernick tried to say the use of filters was suggested by public health; Brandt said that wasn’t the case. Bernick said Wynder had suggested it. Brandt pointed out, “Wynder wasn’t public health, he was a researcher.”

Bernick brought out JE Blasingame’s statement in a 1964 JAMA article that (paraphrasing), “You could yell from the rooftops at the top of your lungs that smoking is harmful, and you wouldn’t be telling anyone anything they didn’t already know for the last 10 years.”

Brandt pointed out this was the period when AMA received $15 million from the tobacco industry.

Bernick asked, “Do you have evidence that that the executive VP of the AMA wrote this because of money from the tobacco industry?” No, Brandt said.

Bernick asked, “Isn’t it true that it would be the rare person in 1970 who could say, ‘Gee, I didn’t know smoking was harmful to health?’”

Brandt said with a smile, “That’s what the industry said.”

Bernick noted that Brandt never looked at internal documents where tobacco industry personnel said the smoking and lung cancer link was _not_ proven.

Bernick felt it important for Bernick to identify when was the last time the industry–at its own initiative, and not as a response–commented publicly on smoking and health.

Ted Wells from Philip Morris took over for the last half-hour, focusing on what the industry communicated to Congress.

One Response to “Tues, AM Session: Bernick v. Brandt II”

  1. Gene Borio Says:

    From the blog:

    Bernick introduced an interesting document from an SAB meeting, wherein SAB head Leon Jacobson “asked Bentley point blank if he accepted the conclusions of the MRC (Medical Research Council). After long hesitation, he said no. Jacobson said he was glad to bear that. He, personally, did not think there was any relation between smoking and lung cancer.”

    Bernick pressed Brandt to ascertain which was correct–the scientists’ report, or this document.

    Here’s the document Bernick referred to: http://tobaccodocuments.org/atc/60365821.html. It is the minutes of the TIRC SAB meeting. From reading the document, it seems Bernick was asking Brandt: whom do you believe–Bentley himself (in his own official “trip report”), or the nameless secretary who typed up these luncheon(!) minutes and recounted this conversation?

    Here’s a fuller segment from the document:

    There was general resentment against the ACS. Jacobson remarked that he smoked 2 to 2 1/2 packs of cigarettes a day plus a pipe. It might shorten his life 7 months - so what? When he read this issue of CA, be went out and got roaring drunk, which shortened his life a whole year. “For the first time” he said, “he had publicly been called a liar”. Dr. Lynch is not excitable but be said that after he had cooled off, he intended to write Stoner a long letter and on each page forbid its publication by ACS. If they did release it, he will sue them. This incident has done much to unify the Scientific Advisory Board.

    Bentley, Felton and Reid joined the Board at luncheon.

    Jacobson asked Bentley point blank if he accepted the conclusions of the MRC (Medical Research Council). After long hesitation, he said no. Jacobson said he was glad to bear that. He, personally, did not think there was any relation between smoking and lung cancer, but if this hypothesis were generally accepted and it was felt that a case had been proved against tobacco, then he had things to do other than serve on the SAB.

    So the SAB members railed against the ACS for possibly insinuating SAB was industry-connected — then had lunch with 3 industry scientists.

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