Litigation-Driven Research Deposition of Georgia-Pacific Executive
A deposition taken last year (2011) contains a great deal of information on strategies used by vested interests to influence the scientific debate on asbestos. Some sections of the 336-page transcript of the deposition relate to litigation-driven research undertaken by toxicologist David Bernstein, a U.S. born Swiss resident, for Georgia-Pacific LLC, a major defendant in U.S. asbestos litigation. As the person being deposed, Stewart Holm, was the Director of Toxicology and Chemical Management at Georgia-Pacific LLC his answers reveal a great deal about his company's tactics.
In light of the current controversy regarding a planned collaboration between researchers from the International Agency for Research on Cancer and asbestos-industry linked scientists from Russia,1 it is informative to read the section in the deposition which pertains to the disclosure of potential conflicts of interest by David Bernstein and others under contract to Georgia-Pacific. According to Holm, Dr. David M. Bernstein was hired as a scientific/medical consultant (p.143) [and/or] a scientific consultant with regard to litigation (p. 157). Invoices submitted by Bernstein are discussed in some detail including the fact that his hourly rate varied from 350 to 500 Swiss Frances ($378-$540).
There is considerable attention paid to papers published in journals by Bernstein and other authors, including Stewart Holm, which stated that funding was provided by a grant from Georgia-Pacific. Lawyer Jerry Kristal, who was persistent in questioning Holm about the manner of funding provided to Bernstein et al., highlighted salient facts relating to Bernstein's completion of forms for the journal Inhalation Toxicology (p. 264-278). See June 6, 2011 Deposition of Stewart E. Holm.
December 13, 2012
1 Kazan-Allen L. What's Going on at IARC? November 16, 2012.