ATLANTA (CN) - After losing major lawsuits over their decades of medical fraud, the major tobacco companies continued the conspiracy by paying a National Cancer Institute doctor to testify against using Spinal CT screening for lung cancer, according to a RICO class action in Federal Court. The class claims Big Tobacco hired the NCI doctor to testify in a Louisiana class action, "so defendants would not have to pay for Spiral CTs and would save money."
As a result of the defendants' conspiracy and their influence on the doctor, the NCI has not recommended Spinal CTs to screen for lung cancer as public policy and as the medical standard of care, the class claims.
According to the complaint:
"The Tobacco enterprise through the mails and wires, hired Dr. Denise Aberle, a government official and the national principal investigator of the National Cancer Institute's lung cancer random clinical trial (NLST), as an expert witness to testify for defendants and against Spiral CT screening for the victims of defendants' RICO conspiracy in the Scott Louisiana medical monitoring class action, so defendants would not have to pay for Spiral CTs and would save money. The Tobacco enterprise also paid Dr. Aberle a witness fee. As a direct result of defendants' influence upon Dr. Aberle, the NCI has not recommended Spiral CTs to screen for lung cancer as public policy and the medical standard of care."
Defendants include Reynolds American, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, Brown & Williamson Tobacco, American Tobacco Co., Altria Group, Philip Morris USA and Lorillard Tobacco Co.
Lead plaintiff Steven Peoples asked attorney Robert Preston to represent the class.
Subscribe to Closing Arguments
Sign up for new weekly newsletter Closing Arguments to get the latest about ongoing trials, major litigation and hot cases and rulings in courthouses around the U.S. and the world.