September 29, 2003
The Civil Court of Saint-Nazaire announced today that it had rejected a claim by the Caisse Primaire d'Assurance Maladie (CPAM) of Saint-Nazaire seeking to recover health care costs for the treatment of smoking-related diseases from certain affiliates of Philip Morris International and other tobacco companies. The CPAM is a local branch of the French social security system.
This is the first time a French court has addressed the ability of a health care provider to bring a direct action against tobacco manufacturers for the cost of treating beneficiaries who were smokers. Similar claims have been rejected in the United States and elsewhere. French courts generally have not accepted liability claims from individual smokers.
"This is an important decision since it is the first of its kind in France," Mark Friedman, Vice President and Associate General Counsel of Philip Morris International said. "These cases simply do not belong in court, and litigation is not the best way to address the matters raised. We will continue to work with the appropriate authorities to seek regulatory solutions to issues relating to smoking and health," Friedman said.
Note to the editor
The other defendants in the case are SEITA, affiliates of British American Tobacco and affiliates of Japan Tobacco International. The case was brought by the Caisse Primaire d'Assurance Maladie (CPAM) of Saint-Nazaire, which is a local branch of the French social security system.
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