Peter N Lee

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

Peter N Lee, (aka Peter NC Lee and PN Lee in tobacco documents) was officially an independent statistical consultants from Sutton in the UK However he was also one of the main statisticians and study critics working for the UK tobacco industry (both as an employee and as a consultant). He worked independently through his own consultancy, Peter N Lee Statistics (aka P.N. lee Statistical and Computing Ltd) and also through the Harrowgate Laboratory which was run by the Tobacco Research Council (TRC) in Britain.

His main job was to criticise adverse findings in other people's studies (those reporting health problems statistically linked to smoking). The main problem he had with the industry was that his criticism were sometimes relatively honest -- in fact, Lee was occasionally honest to the point where it got him into trouble with the US industry. The Americans were much more sensitive to such exposure.

However he worked extensively for, and in the pay of the tobacco industry for decades, and he worked closely with Professor Roger Perry, George Leslie and other cash-for-comment scientists in the UK. He was also a member of their pseudo-association, ARIA and he appears to have enjoyed luxury travel to exotic locations to speak at esoteric conferences and cavort with other cash-for-comment scientists.

PM evaluation of his services

In February 1995 the new CEO of Philip Morris, Geoffrey C Bible took control of the tobacco industry's main fightback program and completely reformed the organisational structure of the company's lobbying and disinformation activities. Philip Morris virtually dominated the global tobacco industry's fightback program at this time and he realised that the problem had become global, rather than being confined to just the developed world.

Bible therefore merged the active lobbying/scientific-witness arms of both the domestic (PM USA) company and the international (PMI) division (with many national companies) and creating three new, closely-linked headquarter entities.

  • Corporate Affairs (CA) now ran the main disinformation campaigns, and they looked after the 'grants' and 'donations' given to think-tanks and university institutions which housed scientific lobbyists for the industry.
  • Worldwide Scientific Affairs (WSA) took over the old Science & Technology/Scientific Affairs operations. It now controlled the many academic and scientific consultants that had been recruited around the world: the open/admitted advisers who were paid by annual retainers; those who received grants and were open about it while always claiming to be "independent" of tobacco influence; and the numerous WhiteCoats who preferred to operate in secret, and were generally paid only on a services-rendered basis. WhiteCoats were usually paid through their own private consultancy firms, or via pseudo-scientific associations (IAPAG, ARIA, EGIL, IAI, ARTIST etc.) set up specifically to provide a money-laundry service and cover.
  • Worldwide Regulatory Affairs (WRA), was an extension of the old Washington lobbyist in-house staff, but with experts in other countries, and now operating on a global scale. They did the political lobbying and wrote the wording of the bills. The were mainly lawyers.

As part of this restructure, the head office of the company requested information about the scientists who had been recruited and run over the previous few years by the regional divisions of the company. This document from the Swiss branch run by Helmut Gaisch and Helmut Reif gives us their evaluation of some of their contractors. See original document:

Peter N Lee, long-term statistical consultant to the UK's TAC.

  • Independent consultant in statistics + adviser on epidemiology and toxicology to a number of tobacco, pharmaceutical and chemical companies.
  • History with industry:
    1966-74 Tobacco Research Council Labs, Harrogate (as statistician)
    1974-79: statistician and research coordinator employed by London's Tobacco Research Council. Lee has published 155 papers in scientific journals and books.
  • Value: Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society. Worked on the Department of Health and Social Services committee on toxicology. Worked on the IARC monograph on analysis of animal experiments.
  • Current: Longtime association with both PM and the industry, and has functioned both as consultant and as principle investigator on numerous project. They have budgeted $195,000 for his services in 1998.