To the Editor:
In 1994, the CEOs of the leading tobacco companies testified to Congress on whether or not nicotine was addictive. The CEOs of Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds, U.S. Tobacco, Lorillard Tobacco, Liggett Group, Brown and Williamson Tobacco, and American Tobacco were all unanimous in their declaration that “no, nicotine is not addictive.” Anyone watching the replay of this event today, 28 years later, would likely view it as one of the most stunning attempts at public deception with devastating consequences on future public health.
A more recent example of organized public deception was Purdue Pharma’s deliberate suppression of evidence of OxyContin’s powerful addictive properties which led to the opioid crisis. Purdue Pharma’s President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Friedman and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Paul D. Goldenheim pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor “misbranding” charge and the executives paid a combined $634.5 million in fines.
Today, Princeton is facing its own glaring example of a breach of public trust with the potential for tragic consequences. more