Joseph M Wu

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

Drs Joseph M Wu and Lawrence M Wexler were both Professors at the New York Medical College in mid 1989 when they were recruited by John Lyon of the Tobacco Institute (along with dozens of other professors in medical fields) to act as Academic ETS Scientific Consultants (ETS = Environmental Tobacco Smoke, or 'passive smoking').

They were successfully passed through a vetting process by the scientific executives at the Tobacco Institute to ensure that they didn't have any 'anti-smoking bias', and then and passed over to the industry lawyer John Rupp of Covington & Burling who explained how they would be controlled and paid. It was important for both parties that their links were not exposed since this would effect their 'independent expert' status. Their first real assignments were to prepare papers and speak at the McGill University ETS Symposium: Wu on the possible causes of lung cancer in NON-smokers; and Wexler on ETS and cardiovacular disease

The two day (Nov 3-4) McGill Conference of over 200 staff, lawyers and invited scientists was totally funded and controlled by the Corporate Affairs division of Philip Morris under Andrew Whist and it was used both as a training ground for newly recruited European scientific consultant, and to break in a number of Asian Whitecoats (a special sort of research scientist who couldn't afford to risk revelations that they worked for the cigarette companies).

Documents & Timelines

1989 Aug John Lyons of the Tobacco Institute was in charge of the recruitment of Academic ETS Scientific Consultants. The process or selecting new consultants is explained in this (and other) letters:

  • packets of literature on ETS were sent to prospecive consultants.
  • they examine the comments to see whether there is an 'anti-smoking bias'
  • If not, then they move to a second vetting
  • the lawyers from Covington & Burling have a discussion with them and explain the payment system and the control
  • those still indicating that they will consult with the tobacco industry will then pass through a training program (different at different times)
  • they then await assignments. (witness, letter-to-editor writing, articles, etc)
  • contact and payments are handled through the lawyers.

The industry is using the forthcoming McGill University ETS Symposium as a trial for some of their new recruits:

  • Dr.Ronald D Hood (uni of Alabama)was given the assignment of preparing a paper on the reproductive effects of passive smoking
  • Dr Wexler (New York Medical College) was to speak on ETS and cardiovascular disease
  • Dr Wu (New York Medical College) was to speak on possible causes of lung cancer in NON-smokers.

Lyon writes: The McGill conference is the focus of most of the academic ETS activity at this moment. After the conference, the consultants should be able to focus more directly on assignments for the Institute.

1989 Nov 3-4 The conference took place at McGill University.

1990 Aug 3 Sam Chilcote the General Manager of the Tobacco Institute has advised the Members of the Executive Committee about plans to develop a celebrity speakers program using academics and other expert consultants. They offer the speakers both money and personal image promotion:

[W]hile it is clear that there are a number of individuals who can and are speaking out on our issues independent of The Institute, there also is much more that could be done. There are, for example, opportunities to develop higher profiles for those individuals with whom we enjoy an existing relationship, and to increase within the media an awareness of their availability.

There also are a number of individuals who have been identified who do not currently have a relationship with the industry, but whose views appear to be compatible with our own. Should the Executive Committee decide that it wants to proceed with an expansion of our speakers' program, these individuals would be contacted to determine their interest in our issues.

The addition of new speakers to our program will be expensive. Most of these individuals command substantial consulting fees; media and other activity will require a new commitment of funds, although an exact amount cannot be determined until candidates have been approached.

He then lists potential speakers:

  • Authors, newscasters and newspaper columnists
  • Well-known politicians, political aides, White House staffers, State authorities, agency administrators, etc
  • Heads of various coalition groups (American Advertising Federation. etc, Libertarian think-tanks)
  • Compliant legal and business academics from Savarese's network list.
  • Academics promoting their expertise in 'risk assessment'.
  • Corporate experts in indoor air pollution and ventilation systems.
  • Cash-for-comment academic economists
  • Many other collaborators and some likely allies:
  • Medical & biomedical researchers:
    • Current Projects list of those already with grants
    • Those paid to make comments on EPA ETS risk assessment (emphasis on confounders)

[Notes: The McGill University ETS Symposium in Novmber 1989 was a very large faux-scientific conference held exclusively with the industry's favorite scientists and supporters. It was a way of training them in the latest research and working out the best techniques to counter the anti-smoking movement. It was created, funded and controlled by Philip Morris, initially to provide training for its 'Asian WhiteCoats. The 'proceedings' were published by the fake Institute for International Health & Development and then widely distributed an indoor-air quality (IAQ) textbook which exonerated second-hand tobacco smoke as the cause of adverse health effects of any significant office air-quality discomfort. [Almost all of the scientists on this list participated]

1990 Oct 11 The Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) is holding hearings on the banning of smoking on interstate buses. These are the Tobacco Institute submissions: Critical comments were filed by

Salvatore R DiNardi , Ph.D., PHRA Incorporated;
Joseph L Fleiss , Ph.D., of Columbia University School of Public Health
Alan J Gross , Ph.D., of Medical University of South Carolina;
Howard Goodfellow , Ph.D., and Susan Eyre , MHSc., of Goodfellow Consultants, Inc.;
Gio B Gori , Director, Health Policy Center;
Larry C Holcomb , Ph.D., Vice President, Holcomb Environmental Services;
Ronald D Hood , Ph.D., University of Alabama,
Raphael J Witorsch , Ph.D., Medical College of Virginia,
Philip Witorsch , M.D., George Washington Unversity Medical Center;
Alan W Katzenstein , Katzenstein Associates;
S James Kilpatrick , Medical College of Virginia;
Peter N Lee , M.A., Director, P.N. Lee Statistics and Computing Ltd.;
Maurice E LeVois , Ph.D., Environmental Health Resources,
Maxwell W Layard , Ph.D., Layard Associates;
Ted A Loomis , M.D., Ph.D., Drill, Freiss, Hays, Loomis & Shaffer, Inc.;
Joe Pedelty , M.Sc, Holcomb Environmental Services;
Mark J Reasor , Ph.D., West Virginia University
James A Will , D.V.M., Ph.D.;
Jarnail Singh , Ph.D., Stillman College;
Paul Switzer , Ph.D., Stanford University;
John A Todhunter , Ph.D., FAIC, DABT, Science Regulatory Services International;
David A Weeks , M.D.; (Boise, Idaho physician; partner in Per-Med Corp. with S James Kilpatrick)
Lawrence M Wexler , Ph.D., New York Medical College;
Joseph M Wu , Ph.D., New York Medical College.

[Note: Every one of the above was a long-term tobacco industry shill.]