Sidney Wolfe

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

Sidney Wolfe, M.D.: Plaintiff


Dr Sidney Wolfe, who headed Ralph Nader's "Public Citizen's Health Research Group (? to present). He came under concerted attack by both the tobacco industry and the breast implant manufacturers. He also monitored the FDA.

Documents & Timeline

1995 Jun 13 Peggy Carter at RJ Reynolds is writing to the top misinformation team in the company, Tom Griscom, Chuck Blixt and Dan Donahue about her observations at a recent Manhattan Institute seminar on "Junk Science and the Law".

Walter Olson and Peter Huber at the Manhattan Institute were both in the pay of Philip Morris and promoting their junk-science propaganda. She comments on some in attendance:

  • Michael Fumento: Mike authored the Investor's Business Daily piece on the EPA's EST risk assessment that we've been sending out for some time. He told me that piece generated more reaction than anything he's ever done. He's clearly keeping his distance from the industry to preserve his neutral position. Matt Swetonic advises on the QT that work is in progress to

nationally syndicate Mike as a science columnist.

  • Steve Milloy: Milloy included in his remarks a recap of the problems with the EPA's ETS risk assessment, and told me privately that we're really getting "screwed" on this issue. He asked me if I knew CRS was working on an evaluation of the EPA's assessment; seems he and Steve Redhead (the CRS official who contacted us) are good friends. He characterized Redhead as an "anti." Dr. Redhead told Milloy last week that their report was going to require "significant rewrite."

In response to my question about why, he indicated Redhead felt the only issue was in homes with high exposures over long periods of time. He clearly did not want to be more precise, and apparently felt that was clue enough. Perhaps Chris Coggins can tea-leaf read if - that means CRS was convinced to reevaluate their position on high exposures.

  • Public Citizen Research Group: Dr. Sidney Wolfe's name also came up repeatedly for his $750 kit on how to sue breast implant manufacturers. His links to the plaintiffs' bar were also noted several times. Interestingly, no one addressed advocacy groups' roles in the junk-science problem.
  • Plaintiffs' Bar/Tort Reform: With the exception of being outspoken about the need for tort reform, Dow Corning hums the same tune as we do on class actions: that they aren't saying consumers can't or shouldn't sue, but that class action litigation ought to be used appropriately to settle a common claim by multiple plaintiffs for a common set of circumstances. Hazleton, you'll see, dubs plaintiffs' bar as "Litigation, Inc."

Several interesting tactics by the plaintiffs' bar we may want to note:

(1) they created implant support groups which were nothing more than a foil to identify potential class members, and
(2) absent any epidemiological studies showing a relationship between the auto immune system and breast implants, they've developed claims of atypical symptoms that aren't going to show up in epi studies


The tobacco industry was beginning to see the breast implant problem as potentially valuable to them in their fight against restrictions on smoking. The breast implant silicone problem was still highly disputable - so bother the implants and ETS could be grouped together as victims of junk-science.

1993 Oct Co-author, "Contributing to Death: The Influence of Tobacco Money on the U.S. Congress," a report by Public Citizen's Health Research Group, October 1993.

1994 Mar 7 or July 3 Spoke on ABC's "Day One" program (Day One 3/7/94).

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