FDA Mobilization options

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

FDA Mobilization Options

This 1995 Philip Morris (PM) memo shows how PM mobilizes the employees of its food and drink subsidiaries as a lobbying force against tobacco control policies. To create the appearance of a "grass roots" uprising, PM provides its employees, and those of its subsidiaries, like Kraft and Miller Beer, with telephone lines ("phone banks"), letter writing booths, "desk drops," pre-stamped envelopes, carbon paper, etc. and lets employees know it is "in their interests" to oppose measures PM doesn't like. If a subsidiary does not wish to join PM's "grass roots mobilization," PM applies pressure to the subsidiary's senior management to get them to join the protest:

Last November we asked Kraft and Miller to distribute a memo to their employees asking for letters into the FDA. As I mentioned yesterday, Kraft chose not to participate..We will need for our senior management to communicate with Kraft, and probably Miller senior management before we can count on their participation...Once KF and Miller have 'bought in' to the idea, it is important that the word trickle down through the organization that helping oppose FDA is in KF's and Miller's interests.

PM also uses a "dictation program," in which they have "trained operators" call consumers and ask if they want to write a protest letter to their legislator or a government agency. The operator then types up the letter and mails the typed letters to the consumer (along with the requisite number of copies and pre-stamped envelopes).

To protest a proposed increase in the federal excise tax (FET) on cigarettes, Philip Morris did a mass mailing of one million pieces. It generated 20,000 letters protesting the health measure, a 2% response rate. Even at the bulk rate for first class (and excluding printing and stuffing costs), such a mailing would cost PM approximately $260,000 in postage alone. This represents a net postage cost of about $13.00 per actual response obtained. Not too many health groups could afford that type of expenditure.

Other groups PM mobilizes to protest health measures include their suppliers, wholesalers, shareholders, and retailers.


Title FDA MOBILIZATION OPTIONS
Org. Author PM, PHILIP MORRIS
Per. Author Christine Donohue
Date 19950209
Type MEMO, REPORT, OTHER
Bates 2044771568/1571
Master Bates 2044771337/1605
Collection Philip Morris
Pages 4
URL:http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/wcf36e00

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