‘The Insider’ calls bullshit on UCD

With the UC Board of Regents taking up the issue of tobacco-industry research funding next week, SN&R checked in with Jeffrey Wigand, the former Brown & Williamson executive whose whistle-blowing was made famous in the movie The Insider, with Weigand played by Russell Crowe.

On UC Davis sensory scientists’ defense that their tobacco-funded research is pure science: “They can’t say that their science is just pure science isolated from the way the product is designed and how it’s used. They’re just doing science for science’s sake for the tobacco industry, which uses it to make a product that, when used as intended, kills? Excuse me? I mean how hungry are they for money?”

On scientists who receive tobacco- industry funding for health-related research: “If I kill somebody and take that money to give it to you to do research, aren’t you just as guilty? I don’t buy that argument on any moral or ethical basis. I just think they’re feeding bullshit. Or they’ve talked themselves into a philosophy of ‘I can do what I want to do and get away with it.'”

On tobacco-industry research funding of UC scientists: “It’s money that comes from killing people. Should you be a part of that? Are you that crass? They lack moral integrity. I don’t know how to say it any other way.”

On current UC policy: “Does the university accept blood money? Is there a moral principle of this university?”