Bela J Szende

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Professor Bela J Szende of Semmelweiss Medical University was a pathologist in Budapest, Hungary, who worked on the side as a science corrupter for the tobacco industry. He was initially handled by Peter Martin who operated out of the Science & Technology 9S&T) division of Philip Morris's Swiss subsidiary, known as FTR. Later he was taken over and run by Francis JC Roe and Peter N Lee (a statistician consultant) out of London; these two were also key members of the ARIA group.

Szende worked in Hungary with Professor Gabor Kendrey. They were paid to produce a number of papers (both jointly and individually) based on highly selected autopsy data from the Hungarian records, in combination with some more general material that Peter Lee sent them, which he had culled from the literature. Roe and Lee had a supervisory role over the papers Szede and Kendrey produced - they were to be cleared through these two tobacco lackeys before being sent for publication.

Documents & Timeline

1993 Feb 25 Peter N Lee and Francis JC Roe have visited Professors Bela J Szende (Semmelweiss Medical University) and Gabor Kendrey in Budapest. They want to use Hungarian autopsy data from people who have died from lung cancer; they are looking for rates of false-positives and false-negatives in diagnosis. They also want to check for later changes in death certificates after microscopic analysis of lung tissue.

One "200 Person" study showed that every patient dying of lung-cancer except one had smoked, so they decided against publishing the material. They saw it as only useful to check the false-positive rates. The two Hungarians were to prepare papers and send them to Lee and Roe for comment. Lee would feed them details culled from the literature as to accuracy of diagnosis. A number of papers were commissioned from Szende and Kendrey (jointly). They would also give papers at conferences if expenses were covered.

Lee included costs:

  • £16,000 for his own/company time
£ 2,500 for Roe's consultancy services
£ 2,000 for expenses in Budapest
£ 2,500 for Szende and Kendrey for discussion time
£ 1,500 each for them for travel expenses
Estimated £16,750 to complete the project [2]

1993 May 22 Peter Martin at FTR in Switzerland (PM subsidiary) sends Charles Wall ('Chuck') his own bill for a meeting with Kendrey and Szende. Peter N Lee has taken them over and will handle their expenses. [3]

1994 Feb 23 Bela Szende met with Lee and Roe in London to discuss further papers.

1994 Jul 25 Szende and Kendrey have met again with Roe and Lee at Neuchatel, Switzerland, also with a group of disinformation executives from Philip Morris's S&T FTR (Anthony Andrade, Mitchell Ritter, Iancou A Marcovitch, Andre Badstuber, MKS & Ruth Dempster) They are to review the Hungarian Autopsy study.

  1. A paper had been sent to Human & Experimental Toxicology, but not yet published.
  2. Another paper on the accuracy of diagnosis was with: Acta. Path. Med. Imm. Scan" -- and this needs to be paid to be published as a supplement.

Philip Morris would back these proposals under the control of Roe and Lee (except for the 200 person study) [4]