Philip Morris International Nominated to Corporate Hall of Shame
Tobacco giant cited for bullying tactics
Posted by: Editor | Oct 23, 2012
Philip Morris International (PMI) has scored a well-deserved nomination to Corporate Accountability International's 2012 Corporate Hall of Shame for its legal bullying of countries that have adopted strong measures to reduce tobacco use.
The world's largest multinational tobacco company with billions of dollars in profits at its disposal, Philip Morris in recent years has used lawsuits and international trade disputes to fight bold tobacco control policies in Australia, Norway, Uruguay and other countries.
Fortunately, countries are fighting back and showing that Philip Morris and other big tobacco companies can be defeated. Recent examples:
- In August, Australia's high court upheld the country's first-in-the-world law requiring that all cigarettes be sold in plain packaging, rejecting a lawsuit by Philip Morris and other tobacco companies. Philip Morris is still challenging the law as a violation of a bilateral investment treaty between Australia and Hong Kong. Australia will require the plain cigarette packs starting December 1.
- In September, a court in Norway upheld that country's ban on displaying tobacco products in stores, rejecting a complaint by Philip Morris that the ban violated a trade agreement. Philip Morris subsequently decided not to appeal the ruling, which is expected to spur other countries to implement similar policies.
- Philip Morris is still suing Uruguay under a bilateral investment treaty, challenging laws that increased the size of cigarette warning labels and limited each cigarette brand to one pack variation in an effort to stop deceptive branding. A recent study found that these policies have helped to dramatically reduce smoking in Uruguay.
It’s clear that Philip Morris International puts profits ahead of health and lives, making the company a worthy candidate for the 2012 Corporate Responsibility Hall of Shame.
Philip Morris is the world's largest and most profitable publicly traded tobacco company, operating in approximately 160 countries. Along with other tobacco companies, it has increased efforts to market products in low- and middle-income countries, where 80 percent of the world’s smokers live. Unless countries stand up to the bullying of these tobacco giants and take strong action to save lives, tobacco use will kill one billion people in the 21st century.