I find myself reading a document by a senior American epidemiologist and medical doctor, commissioned by Philip Morris Korea, in which this individual explains at great length why, in his view, the case of the National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) has brought against the tobacco companies must fail. The NHIS has asked me for an expert opinion, responding to this one.
I cannot help but wonder what would lead an epidemiologist and doctor to deliver a written expert opinion of this nature.
I was offered a fee for my opinion but I refused, since I felt credibility issues are at stake. I am spending my time on this because, first, I believe that the prevailing opinion that epidemiological evidence cannot be applied to the proof of specific causation is incorrect, and second, because I believe that it is worth the effort in this case to argue the point, given the public health burden of tobacco in Korea (where nearly half the male population smokes, and where cancer incidence is the highest in all Asian countries).
I have no idea what motivates my counterpart, but I am surprised that there remain any American epidemiologists who would do anything to help a tobacco company, given the history of the relationship between the profession of epidemiology and tobacco litigation in the USA.
I will double check there is no embargo, and if not, I will publish both the other side’s expert opinion and my own on this blog.