Kenneth M Endicott

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

Kenneth Endicott was a keen member of two disastrous attempts to establish a real cooperative research effort between the tobacco industry and the medical profession. He was a keen, but probably gullible supporter of each attempt until faced with their eventual demise. Endicott ran the Research side of the National Cancer Institute.

  • The Tobacco Working Group (TWG) of the National Cancer Institute's Lung Cancer Task Force was set up by Endicott with the enthusiastic backing of the tobacco industry lawyers in the 1968.
    The research program was being run by Dr Gio Batta Gori, one of the more infamous members of the biomedical research profession, who was fired in the 1980s and set up as a full-time tobacco lobbyist for the cigarette companies.
    Endicott retired from the TWG in late 1969 or early 1970 and Dr Carl G Baker, then the TWG Chairman took over. Not long after Gori became Chairman and changed the orientation towards the creation of a "Less Hazardous Cigarette" which turned out to be a fiction maintained for years by the industry. However a few of the TWG tobacco members were asked by Gori if they wanted to intend informal meetings. Their position was that cigarettes didn't have any health problems, but some of them became involved.
    The TWG was dissolved and Gori was fired. [2]
  • The AMA Education & Research Foundation (AMA-ERF) was a very deliberate and temporarily successful ploy to involve the medical profession in a research program funded by the tobacco companies. Whatever research was done under these grants, the tobacco industry could only win; they would either deny the validity of the research, question the bias of the researchers, or produce their own quick research program, that would prove the opposite.
    They would always win with the politicians because just the existence of such a program let the politicians off the hook with regard to unpopular anti-smoking legislation or regulation: they could always maintain that the dangers had not been proven ... witness the need for AMA controlled research ....

The key to the tobacco industry's survival was not in proving cigarettes were safe, but in continually throwing doubt on any scientific findings that they weren't. And they then had a fall-back position, which was to claim that they were on the brink of identifying the harmful substances, and when these were removed, cigarettes would be safe. Both the TWG and the AMA-ERF helped preserve these myths.

Documents & Timeline

1968 June 27 William Kloepfer of the Tobacco Institute has written to Rosser Reeves at the strategy company Tiderock Corp. This was about the collaboration between the tobacco industry and the AMA (known as AMA Education & Research Foundation or AMA-ERF). Tiderock appears to have been the one who proposed the idea of funding an AMA research program back in June, at a joint tobacco company meeting.

  • Kloepfer and Reeves had met earlier this month to discuss the AMA-ERF and Tiderock had been commissioned for two activities.

1. The TI has decided that both a position paper and the advertising project are still needed. "However events in San Francisco last week have reduced the urgency of publication." This was concerning a release by the AMA-ERF of a report on joint research due on June 19.

  • Daniel Horn of the American Cancer Society has been urging the AMA to withdraw the report.
  • Leonard Schuman and Stanhope Baynes-Jones (both ex-Sur-Gen Advisory Committee members) agreed with Horn and were to take their objections to the trustees of the AMA.
  • Kenneth Endicott (Director of the NCI) and Senator Clements (President of the TI) were proponents of the joint research idea. The Tobacco Institute saw the collaboration as defusing attacks on tobacco from HEW ... "It's a new ball game."

2. The Tobacco Institute wanted to have the ads and position paper cleared by their lawyers Shook Hardy & Bacon and ready for release.

Participants in the San Francisco meeting were:

AMA-ERF Committee as of June 1968 [3]
Tobacco Industry representatives -- Committee of Counsel
Earle C Clements Tobacco Institute President Executive-Director/lobbyist
Philip Grant Lorillard CorpInhouse legal counsel
Frederick P HaasLiggett & Myers General counsel
Cyril Hetsko American TobaccoInhouse legal counsel
H Henry Ramm RJ ReynoldsVP and General Counsel
Paul D Smith Philip MorrisGeneral Counsel
Addison YeamansBrown & Wlliamson General Counsel
Tobacco Research Council/CTR
Richard J Bing MDWayne State Uni CTR & AMA/ERF (cardiologist)
McKeen Cattell MDCornell University CTR (pharmacologist)
Leon O Jacobson MDUniversity of Chicago Chrm of the CTR SAB. physician
Clarence C Little ScD TIRC and CTRScientific Director
Sheldon Sommers MD Columbia UniversityCTR (next Scientific Dir.) pathologist
National Institute of Health
Francis R Abinant National Inst of Allergy & Infectious Diseases
Carl G Baker MD National Cancer InstituteDir. of Etiology
Kenneth Endicott MD National Cancer Institute Director Lung Cancer Task Force
Paul Kotin MD Nat. Environmental Health Science Center of HEW (ex-TIRC SAB)/Lung Cancer Task Force
Gardiner C McMillan MD National Heart Institituteex-Tobacco Working Group of NCI
Ian A Mitchell MD National Cancer Institute
The AMA's Education Research Foundation (ERF) Committee
Robert J Hasterlik MD Uni of Chicago Prof. Medicine
John B Hickam MD Indiana Uni Prof. Medicine. Member SGAC
Paul S Larson PhD Med. College of VirginiaChairman AMA-ERF
Maurice H Seevers MD Uni of MichiganProf Pharmacology.Member SGAC
Ira Singer PhD Am. Medical Assn Sec of AMA committee.
SGAC=Surgeon General's Advisory Committee on Smoking & Health
SAB=Scientific Advisory Board.[4]



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