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Hospitals lose bid to make tobacco companies pay for smoking-related illnesses

Mon 2nd May, 2011

US tobacco companies have defeated a lawsuit by hospitals seeking compensation for treating patients with smoking-related illnesses. 

Thirty-seven hospitals in the state of Missouri had claimed cigarette companies delivered an "unreasonably dangerous" product.

Tobacco companies should reimburse the hospitals for care provided to patients who are unable to pay and are suffering from tobacco-related illness, the plaintiffs said.

Hospitals also should “recover the increased costs incurred to providing all health-care services” as a result of tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke, according to the complaint.

“The jury correctly rejected the entirety of the hospital’s claims,” Murray Garnick, Altria Client Services’ associate general counsel, said in a statement. The jury agreed with Philip Morris “that ordinary cigarettes are not negligently designed or defective,” he said.

The verdict “shows common sense,” Dal Burton, Reynolds lawyer, said in an interview. “It shows that our product is not defective just because it contains nicotine.”

Sources: BBC News (30 April 2011)
Bloomberg (29 April 2011)

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