Tues., PM. Wells, Bierstecker, Minter v. Brandt

September 29, 2004 7:00 am by Gene Borio

After lunch, Wells attacked Brandt’s Direct Testimony on Philip Morris’ Helmut Wakeham. He made the point that 3 of the documents Brandt cited do not support the conclusion that Wakeham “recognized in numerous internal memoranda the cancer-causing effect of cigarette smoke”

In a 1962 document, Brandt identified Wakeham as the author of a 1962 document that recommended the diversification of Philip Morris “at a greater rate due to the reporting of evidence that smoking leads to disease.”

Wells showed that the document was actually written by Mace TO Wakeham. Wells emphasized the beginning of the memo, wherein Mace says that due to recent reports there may be a chance that smoking may cause cancer, “slight though that chance may be.” Wells repeated the word “slight.”

The end result is that the document clearly can be summed up as, “Though there might be only a slight chance smoking causes cancer– we’d better hurry up and diversify the entire company.

Wells listed 20088, a diagram which Brandt said, “Wakeham identified 84% of the more than 400 gas and particulate compounds in cigarette smoke, including those that he specifically recognized as carcinogens, in sidestream, or secondhand, smoke.”

I thought the diagram did indeed show that, but Wells had a kind of odd phrasing of why that interpretation was wrong, and it seemed to confuse Brandt, who had been on the stand about 4 hours, plus lunch (Not to mention Wells’ punchy montone, which seemed to be putting the people around me to sleep too). Brandt seemed a bit tired at this juncture, a kind of brain-lock seemed to set in, and after trying to make sense of the document in Wells’ terms, said, “That’s (his original assessment) what this document seems to say to me.”

Wells said the chart said nothing about Wakeham’s own personal view.

Wells then produced the famous Wakeham document wherein he said,

“A medically acceptable low-carcinogen cigarette may be possible. Its development would require

TIME

MONEY

UNFALTERING DETERMINATION”

Wells tried to make the point that all Wakeham was doing was picking out information that was in the literature at the time, that the document reflected the industry’s activities to produce a medically-acceptable cigarette. “That’s natural and appropriate,” Wells said.

Wells recalled the beginning of testimony wherein he asked Brandt, what he meant by the Direct Testimony that Wakeham “recognized in numerous internal memoranda the cancer-causing effect of cigarette smoke” Wells had asked if that meant what Wakeham wrote about, or if it reflected Wakeham’s personal view. Brandt had said “Both,” and now couldn’t remember his exact response. Wells certainly pounced on that.

The third document Wells cited referred to giving smokers a “psychological crutch” to continue smoking in the face of medical data. Wells claimed Wakeham had gotten the term from the ‘64 SG Report, which, under “Beneficial Effects of Smoking” said smoking can give smokers a “psychological crutch.” And Wakeham knew of and did refer to that very page of the SGR’s summation.

Brandt made the point that “psychological crutch” was a catchphrase of the time, and that in his reading of the document Wakeham was using the term far differently than the SG.

Peter Bierstecker from RJR then rose to address his company’s issues with Brandt’s testimony.

He said that most of the ingredients in cigarette smoke had actually been identified by RJR scientists, and that the constituents in cigarette smoke were publicly available.

Bierstecker brought up a Rodgman document wherein Rodgman states, “Obviously the amount of evidence accumulated to indict cigarette smoke as a health hazard is overwhelming. The evidence challenging such an indictment is scant,” and says that evidence should not be taken by RJR at face value.

Bierstecker brought up Rodgman’s Minnesota testimony, wherein he said that he meant, (paraphrasing), “If you look at the literature, it would appear overwhelming. But we at RJR knew differently. Our scientists knew more that the literature. And indeed, much of the literature has been proven wrong since.”

Brandt said this testimony did not change his view of the document.

Bierstecker, “So you know better than the author.”

Minter (sp?), the Lorillard attorney rose to attack Brandt’s testimony on a Kent ad that claimed health benefits for Kent.

He wanted to show the “Information Environment” that consumers were in at the time. He produced a series of articles JAMA had done 1953-57 on the tar content of cigarettes. However, the articles did not name the brands they had tested. A “Brand B” was listed as the very lowest.

Minter produced a Reader’s Digest from the day, making the point it was a very popular magazine. In one article, the author (unnamed) claimed that “Brand B” was Kent.

So, Minter seemed to be saying, consumers were getting accurate information about Kent’s health benefits(!). The caveat to this was, Sure, if they pored over technical JAMA articles, and also read and believed this one Reader’s Digest code-breaking article.

Redirect helped restore Brandt’s testimony . . .

More later . . .

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