Smokers File Lawsuit Against Philip Morris USA for CT Scans To Detect Lung Cancer
A group of long-term Marlboro cigarette smokers has filed a lawsuit against manufacturer Philip Morris USA that seeks to require the tobacco company to pay for low-dose CT cans to detect early stage lung cancer, the New York Times reports. The lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, could include as many as tens of thousands of New York state residents older than age 50 who have smoked a pack of Marlboros cigarettes daily for the last 20 years and are not diagnosed with lung cancer.
The lawsuit -- filed by Jerome Block, an attorney with the law firm Levy Philips & Konigsberg, in Federal District Court in Brooklyn -- seeks to establish a fund to pay for annual CT scans, which cost about $500 each, because most health insurers do not cover the tests. According to the lawsuit, the design of Marlboro cigarettes is defective, and Philip Morris could have made the product safer.
"Hopefully, this suit will change things so that we will be dealing with lung cancers that are caught when they can be treated," Block said, adding that "most detection happens when cancer is already advanced." According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer kills patients within five years of diagnosis in 85% of cases.
Philip Morris, which has not reviewed the lawsuit, declined to comment. According to the Times, two previous lawsuits that sought to "hold cigarette companies liable for medical monitoring have failed" (Warner, New York Times, 1/20).