A year ago Dr. Garattini made a proposal: “One euro added to every pack, more expensive cigarettes to finance research.” Great! 4.5 billion packs would bring in 4.5 billion euro!
But here is what he is saying today: “Six percent of the smokers would quit if the Minimum Price were raised to 5 euro.” Maybe the professor is not very good at adding and subtracting, because there is a very significant difference between adding one euro to a pack and increasing the Minimum Price.
In the first case, the money goes to the State, in the second, to the manufacturers… Has the professor made other arrangements for research?
The Minimum Price “obliges” manufacturers to earn more, raising taxes enables the State to earn more. The European Union has repeatedly pointed this out and it has even started up legal violation procedures against Italy because the country does not eliminate this perverse system.
With a Minimum Price at five euro and the additional money diverted to the manufactures, research would not benefit. Although a price-rise to five euro would lead to an increase of the minimum excise, for the same number of packs sold, the State’s earnings would be at least half a billion euro less – and this would go to the manufacturers.
Compare this to a tax increase that would all go to the State, the difference is glaring. Why in the world has Professor Garattini opted for the Minimum Price, proposing an absurd and ridiculous version of it with an increase of one euro and 30 cents all at one time? Does he not know that the European Union has declared the Minimum Price illegal? Could it be that the Professor does not even know what the Minimum Price is?
The fact that Professor Garattini’s idea of raising the price to five euro a pack and proposing a “single price” for all cigarettes, coincides perfectly with Philip Morris’ objectives, might be due solely to ignorance and superficiality but his contribution to the manufacturer’s cause is concrete.
The result of the professor’s suggestion to “raise the Minimum Price of cigarettes” will be that a phalanx of Big Tobacco supporters will start quoting his authoritative statements to support their arguments for the Minimum Price. And a host of journalists will write about cigarette prices with the same superficiality as Professor Garattini.
The “Award List” of Silvio Garattini
Italian scientist, researcher and teacher, he founded the European Organization for Research on Treatment of Cancer. He has been a member of numerous organizations, including the Biology and Medicine Commission (Comitato di Biologia e Medicina) of the National Research Council (Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (C.N.R.), the National Health Council (Consiglio Sanitario Nazionale) and of the Prime Minister’s Commission for Research Policies in Italy (Commissione della Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri per la politica della ricerca in Italia), and a member of the Pharmaceutical Commission of the Health Ministry (Commissione unica del farmaco (CUF) del Ministero della Salute).
Other positions that Dr. Garattini has held: Consultant of the World Health Organization, Member of the Board of directors of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Member of the Committee for Proprietary Medicinal Products (CPMP) of the European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products (EMEA), Member of the Executive Committee for Research Policies (CEPR) of the Education Ministry (Ministero dell’Università e della Ricerca Scientifica e Tecnologica), member of the Scientific Committee of the Italian League for the Fight against Tumors, Vice-President of the Consiglio Superiore di Sanità, President of the Comitato di Chemioterapia Antitumorale of the Unione Internazionale contro il Cancro, President of the European Organization of Cancer Research (EORTC), President of the European Society of Biochemical Pharmacology, President of the Steering Advisory Group Current Controlled Trials, President of the Research and Development Commission of the Italian Pharmaceutical Agency (Agenzia italiana del farmaco (AIFA).
Dr. Garattini is a fellow of the New York Academy of Sciences, of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians. He has received numerous honors, among which: the Legion of Honor of the French Republic for scientific merits, Grand’Ufficiale della Repubblica Italiana and a number of honorary degrees awarded by European universities. Garattini is the author of hundreds of publications in periodicals at an International level and of numerous treatises on Pharmacology.
- Garattini: sigarette più care per dare i soldi alla ricerca – Corriere delle Sera, 24 maggio 2008