This site deals only with the corporate corruption of science, and makes no inference about the motives or activities of individuals involved.
There are many reasons why individuals become embroiled in corporate corruption activities - from political zealotry to over-enthusiastic activism; from gullibility to greed.
Please read the OVERVIEW carefully, and make up your own mind.
Joseph M Wu
— Long-term consultant to the tobacco industry. He worked at the New York Medical College. —
A professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at New York Medical College who was also a long-term USA consultant to the tobacco industry, and (nominally) the co-organiser of McGill ETS conference
. He was involved in many tobacco industry scams: he was a member of the IAPAG group (WhiteCoats based at Georgetown University) and worked with the Witorsch brothers on many ETS research projects.
He was also the recipient of many tobacco industry research grants, and Philip Morris paid him very substantial sums to promote their Good Epeidemiology Practices (GEP) standards-proposals in China.
Joseph Wu is another of the group of genuine research scientists who were seduced by the generous funding of the tobacco industry, and began to help the industry with its propaganda efforts as a way of keeping on-side with the grant-makers. Later he became a full-time scientific lobbyist for the industry
He had been recruited in September 1989 by lawyer John Rupp from Covington & Burling who was setting up a small science-team of six genuine scientists to "oppose the idea that ETS is an air-toxic." Wu must have made an impact on the industry because, a month later, he was being listed as co-Chairman and co-Organiser of the (closed) McGill University ETS Conference, which had been set up and controlled by Andrew Whist at the Corporate Affairs Division of Philip Morris International.
Until that time, Wu had had no experience with tobacco smoke-related problems, but he learned quickly when such generous funding was around. In 1992 he listed his research interests as:
Between 1996 and 1998 he received over half a million dollars from Philip Morris's Worldwide Regulatory Affairs (WRA) division, and the propaganda arm of PM USA called Science & Technology (S&T). These were two propaganda and lobbying divisions of the company which dealt with scientific disinformation and academic lobbying, but which never funded genuine biomedical research grants.
- action of interferon
- leukemic cell changes;
- DNA-dependent protein kinase system
- biochemical changes in Alzheimer's
- atherosclerosis, and
- toxic modulation of gene expression.
At much the same time Wu was sent into China to promote Good Epidemiological Practices (GEP), a ascientific standard created by Philip Morris's scientific lobbyists (and redrafted by its lawyers) to emascualte the discipline. This was an attempt to have legislation passed to force the regulatory agencies to satisfy GEP's impossibly-high standards, before promulgating environmental and health regulations.
Wu was also given the tasks of
In general, he was tasked with subverting the Chinese health research in an attempt to open their internal tobacco industry to the influence of American tobacco companies.
- promoting industry-controlled collarboative research in China;
- distributing industry-written scientific papers;
- attending scientific conferences; and
- recruiting Chinese scientists as Whitecoats.
Don't confuse Joseph Wu with the research team behind the "Wu-Williams studies". These were named after Anne Wu-Williams.
Some key documents
• Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, New York Medical College, Valhalla
1986 April 9 - 11: He is on the TIRC/CTR's Science Advisory Board list of grant applications. At this time he is with the New York Medical College, Valhalla, NY [and this would almost certainly have been a genuine grant request]
- "Immune Interferon, Poly (ADP-ribosylation) and Leukemic Cell Differentiation" (1881) Amount requested: $65,812
Approved for rating. (Merit low and relevance questioned because application was difficult to understand,)
- "Regulation of Initiation Factor eIf-2 by Phorbol Esters" (1871) Amount requested $81,280.
Approved for rating: may ask applicant to combine (1881) and (1871) and resubmit.
[Obviously they weren't impressed.]
1989 May 31: The Tobacco Institute is looking for scientists who will be paid as regular witnesses at legislative hearings, in court cases, and in media briefings. This report has Dr George Carlo [a science-for-sale entrepreneur] listed as one of their "new recruiter/trainers" for public hearing witnesses, and he is working with [Clausen] Ely Jr [of lawyers Covington & Burling] and [Myron] Weinberg [of the Washtech scientific witness recruiting service] in identifying and checking-out possible candidates.
In the next week:
"they should complete conference calls with these five/
[The recruiters uses this 'literature review' tactic to avoid spelling out which industry was behind the recruitment, and to ascertain which scientists would be willing to support a position which would have become obvious from reading the literature.]
seven candidates to ascertain their views on the literature. [Wu is on their list]
In addition to the above, Tom Borelli of PM suggested two candidates from the faculty of New York Medical College (Wu and Wexler). Ely has contacted both. Both have reviewed the ETS literature and conference calls to them have indicated that their views of the literature are consistent with the industry's.
Ely and Carlo are scheduled to meet Wu and Wexler on the June 23rd at Philip Morris' offices in Manhattan. They also hope to meet with other NYC-area prospects (Godfrey and Guttneplan) on the 23rd."
1989 Sep 15: The ETS Coordinating Committee [of the Tobacco Institute] is reviewing a number of matters including possible speakers list at the McGill ETS Conference and the new ETS Strategies by the Tobacco Institute.
Clausen Ely of C&B discussed the progress of the academic "first team." He had last reported to this group that six had been recruited. A good meeting was held with the six, but one was eliminated because he was "unimpressive."
I am still waiting for resumes, of the original five, but Clausen promised to send them out.
Another new person has been recruited
- [Joseph] Wu, [New York Med School] (his focus is on alternative mechanisms for lung cancer)
- [Lawrence] Wexler, [New York Med School] (focus on cardiovascular effects)
- [Ronald] Hood, (focus on reproductive effects)
- [Alan] Gross,
Myron Weinberg has identified six other candidates who seem promising. This latter six have the "package" and are reviewing it now.
- Dr. [Joseph] Fleiss, chairman of the Dept. of Statistics at Columbia.
- Paul Switzer, a PhD statistician at Stanford, has been approached and seems interested.
[This was the standard technique of recruitment - the lawyers gave the potential recruits a package of anti-smoking and pro-smoking literature, and judged their potential on their 'considered ' report.]They are :
John Lyons [of the Tobacco Institute] pointed out that it was time we started doing something with these people besides training them and talking to them. Nearly all of them will be going to the McGill conference, and some of them will be delivering papers there. It was agreed, though, that they should start getting other assignments (papers to write for publication, meetings to attend, etc.)
- Brigham — pulmonary MD — Vanderbilt
- McGrath — MD — Texas Tech
- Hsi — biostatistician — Univ. of Texas
- Dunne — MD — Wayne State
- Linda Duffy — epidemiologist — Children's Hosp. Buffalo. (first woman! )
- Acubal — PhD in environmental medicine — U. of Chicago
John Rupp also reported on discussions he has had with
• Bernie Lieberman at the University of Pittsburgh.
He is a sociologist interested in the history of science. The plan is to commission Lieberman to do a piece on the history of ETS, how it's developed, issues of bias, etc. Rupp will receive a proposal from Lieberman within 2 weeks.
1989 Nov: Despite only having become involved with the tobacco problem a few weeks before, and listed as one of their recent recruits who who "needs training" Wu is listed as a discussant at the McGill University [Closed] ETS Conference in Montreal. Even more surprising, most of the later documents give him top-status along with Switzer as Co-chair of the symposium, and with Ecobichon as a founder and initiator of the conference.
1989 Nov: The revised list of speakers (from lawyer John Rupp) for the McGill Conference has Wu also now providing the last-day's Summary and the Concluding Observations. This finalised agenda was circulated on the same day as the ("for the files") letter 'officially' inviting these scientists to speak (which went out only a few days before the conference actually began)
1990 Feb: /E This is a RJ Reynolds submission document to Congress on passive smoking. [Something to do with the Puerto Rico smoking bans and the local tobacco industry.] It includes some remarkable quotes from the McGill University symposium. This one is from Joseph Wu who had only just been recruited as a well-funded tobacco 'friend' a few weeks before ... yet who was credited in the proceedings with being one of the two conference initiators and organisers.
The Symposium was composed of nearly 100 doctors, toxicologists, research biologists, statisticians, engineering consultants, etc. from five continents and from some of the most prestigious teaching hospitals, universities and research centres in the world. They also attached the "complete verbatim report of their findings and discussions, and a few more apposite quotes
Joseph M Wu, PhD
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
New York Medical College
"After reviewing these studies, Dr. Layard concluded that the results were, at best, weak and inconsistent and did not support an inference of a causal relationship between exposure to ETS and lung cancer.
All of the panelists agreed that the existing epidemiologic evidence is inadequate to establish even a statistical association between ETS and cardiovascular disease. Several discussants doubted that an association between ETS exposure and cardiovascular disease could ever be demonstrated, given the extremely low exposure levels and, thus, the biological implausibility of any relationship.
The discussants agreed that the data are extremely weak in this area and that no relationship has been convincingly demonstrated. At most, ETS exposure may cause transitory irritation or annoyance in adults. This kind of irritation, however, is not specific to tobacco. Several panelists thought that psychological factors play a significant role in determining responses to ETS exposure, especially in sensitive individuals such as asthmatics.
One of the most striking consensus views emanating from this conference is that the published data, when critically examined and evaluated, are inconsistent with the notion that ETS is a health hazard.
The discussions that have occurred here should make clear that ETS is not synonymous with indoor air pollution. and that indoor smoking bans will do little, in the vast majority of circumstances, to ensure meaningful and lasting improvements in indoor air quality."
[This document is possibly the first use made of the proceedings of the McGill ETS Conference before the actual book was published by Paul Dietrich at the International Institute for Health and Development]
1990 Mar: /E Tobacco Institute EPA Risk Assessment Submissions
Wu's comments focus on children's respiratory disorders. The data on prenatal exposure to cigarette smoke are not conclusive; effects of drugs and alcohol should also be considered. Since nicotine has dietary sources, cotinine may not be a good measure of exposure.
Confounders that were not adequately addressed in the Review Draft include: stress, maternal care, nutrition, acute respiratory infections, outdoor and indoor air pollution, and domestic factors (pets, fireplaces, hobbies, crowded conditions, etc.). Many of these confounders relate to home environment, lifestyle and socioeconomic status.
1990 Sep: (c) Wu is now listed among the long-term scientific supporters of the tobacco industry. His major activities are reported here as:
- 11/89 Co-chaired McGill ETS symposium
- 1-2/90 Participated in press promotional activities related to McGill ETS symposium.
- 2/90 Participated in Toxicology Forum ETS symposium.
- 4/90 Prepared comments on Chapter 11 of EPA ETS Compendium
- 6/90 Prepared letter to the editor of the New York Times regarding Glantz article on ETS and cardiovascular disease
Comments on EPA ETS risk assessment Paper on biochemical mechanisms/respiratory effects in children, for presentation at International Conference.
1990 Oct: He is on the tobacco industry's list of objectors to the EPA's 'ETS Risk Assessment of Respiratory Disorders in Children.' Every other name on this long list is a well-known, well-esablished scientific supporter and lobbyist for the tobacco industry.
1991: The Tobacco Institute's "Public Affairs Files" has a list of Consultant:
- Alan Gross
- Alan Katzenstein
- Bernard Lieberman
- Dave Brenton
- Gail Charnley
- Walter Decker
- Josh Douglas
- John Doull
- Joseph Fleiss
- Larry Halfen
- Larry Holcomb
- Gary Flamm
- Howard Goodfellow
- Karl Jonas
- James Kilpatrick
- James Pedelty
- Marvin Goodman
- Milt Mecker and his Meckler Group
- Maurice LeVois
- Lawrence Wexler
- Paul Switzer
- Jack Peterson (sic)
- Mark Reasor
- Ron Hood
- David Weeks
- James Will
- Jospeh Wu
1992 March: Susan Stuntz of the Tobacco Institute is spending time in Washington Attending OSHA hearings for the EPA/OSHA Task Force.
Joseph M Wu has made a submission to the hearing from the New York Medical College, using the standard open-witness claims. He admits
"My comments have been prepared at the request of the Tobacco Institute. The opinions expressed in the comments, however, are mine exclusively and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Tobacco Institute or any of the tobacco companies associated with it." [Except that he wouldn't have worked for them again, if they hadn't]
1992 March: Susan Stuntz of the Tobacco Institute is spending time in Washington Attending OSHA hearings for the EPA/OSHA Task Force.
Joseph M Wu has made a submission to the hearing from the New York Medical College. He admits
"My comments have been prepared at the request of the Tobacco Institute. The opinions expressed in the comments, however, are mine exclusively and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Tobacco Institute or any of the tobacco companies associated with it."
1993 Apr 18: He is writing to Tom Borelli, Director of Scientific Affairs (ie scientific public relations) at Philip Morris requesting an extension to his previous grant "In order to continue training visiting scientists from developing countries."
[Note: These three documents were all sequentially attached in the same master-file [2046597017/7020] from Tom Borelli's office at Philip Morris USA].
- He is dealing directly with Philip Morris here (Why not one of the grant-making bodies set up by the industry?) This letter purposrts to be a request for research grant funding. He wants another $60,000 for the assistant's salary as part of his research into leukemia
- Tom Borelli (PM Scientific Affairs) writes to Clare Purcell (budget controller) saying that Wu "needs money in May in order to pay travel expenses for a presentation on ETS at the Indoor Air Conference in Helsinki. [Leo Dreyer is a tobacco lawyer at Shook Hardy & Bacon which controlled the industry's secret accounts and its under-the-counter dealings with friendly scientists]
1996 Jan 1: — Dec 31 1998 [See budget May 13 1997]
Grant to Wu from Philip Morris USA — $192,500 (in 1996), $194,00 (1997), 195,900 (1998) TOTAL=582,400 for
1. Grant Title : "Control of Gene expression in cancerous cells (continuation) "
Study of protein tau in relation to premature apoptosis in neuroblastoma calls : model system for understanding Alzheimer's disease; and, Regulation of cell cycle and apoptosis by retinoids in prostate carcinoma. The 1996 funding was provided by WRA/S&T Asia. [Translation: the budget used for the funding came jointly from Worldwide Regulatory Affairs and the Science & Technology division in Asia — both disinformation operations] In December, 1996, the SRRC [Scientific Research Review Committee which was being transfered with S&T to the new Worldwide Scientific Affairs (WRA) division] approved continuation/funding of the grant for 1997 and PM USA R&D assumed responsibility for payment [R&D actually did some research — but under Clare Purcell, also ran disinformation operations]. Timing of the approval prevented grant inclusion in the 1997 Original Budget
2. Description: To encourage and promote a balanced scientific and public debate and an exchange of information on indoor air quality issues including ETS and related issues in China. The main scope of his work is to build and maintain a network of scientific contacts within China in areas related to indoor air quality (IAQ) including ETS, particularly lung cancer and cardiovascular disease epidemiology.
Key activities include :
1997 Allocation : 150,000 (4,320 fixed monthly + expenses and project-directed activities fee) Funding is expected to continue for a few years.
- Encourage the recognition of the importance of GEP's [Good Epidemiological Practice — a standard invented by Philip Morris to limit the use of epidemiology] in risk assessments and public health regulations and bring the need for GEP's to the attention of scientists and scientific societies in China. Co-organize a CIAR (Center for Indoor Air Research) sponsored GEP workshop in Guangzhou, July, 1997 .
- Support the submission of a research proposal for a multi-center
epidemiological study on risk factors for lung cancer in China, with parallel ETS
- Attend scientific conferences related to IAQ, including ETS, monitor current trends in research, make scientific contacts and presentations on related
1998 Jan 8: This is the Philip Morris planning estimates for maintaining the ARTIST Asian group of scientists. Roger Walk has been put in charge with Mingda Zhang doing the program work. ARTIST now comes under Philip Morris's Worldwide Scientific Affairs (WSA).
The Asian Whitecoats are now being classed as "consultants". George Leslie, from ARIA, who did much of the initial recruitment contacts, is listed in the last paragraph as is Joseph Wu