Weinberg Group

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The Weinberg Group describes itself as " an international scientific and regulatory consulting firm that helps companies protect their product at every stage of its life. We help our clients improve manufacturing processes, clear regulatory hurdles, and defend products in the courts and the media"[1]. With offices in Washington, San Francisco, Brussels and Edinburgh they also boast "Our global experience allows us to overcome complex scientific and regulatory issues anywhere in the world" [2]. The Edinburgh branch of the firm employs 6 staff who provide support to pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical companies in the development of new products.[3]

Weinberg Edinburgh

Talent Scotland, a website funded and run by Scottish Enterprise, describes the Weinberg Group as:

An international scientific and regulatory consulting firm that helps companies in the healthcare sector move their products through development and onto the market. Expert advice is provided on all aspects of the development process, including the European clinical trial and marketing authorisation procedures, Orphan Drug and SME status applications. The Weinberg Group’s primary objective when supporting a project is to add value to the development process. This is achieved through the creation of innovative development and regulatory strategies, and the integration of these with the client’s planned commercial strategy.[4]

Weinberg Group & The Alcohol Industry

The Brewers of Europe hired the Weinberg Group to counter any adverse business consequences of the report Alcohol in Europe by Dr Peter Anderson. Anderson noted that despite reviews which called his work important, accurate and impressive that "... the [Alcohol] industry has still been determined to present its own views as ‘evidence-based’. Between the release of our report and the final strategy, the Brewers of Europe paid for what they described as an ‘independent report . . .reviewed by an independent scientific panel’, a surprising claim given that the report’s co-ordinators say they help companies . . . to clear regulatory hurdles, and defend products in the courts and the media’. [5]

Martin McKee, a professor of public health, share Anderson's concerns. McKee criticized the Weinberg Group for writing a paper on alcohol regulation for the european alcohol industry. McKee said of the report:

"Its content is remarkably similar to the tobacco industry reports that contended there was insufficient evidence that its products caused any harm or that preventive measures would be effective. For example, it concludes that "there is not enough evidence to substantiate a link between alcohol advertising and consumption," which raises the question of why the industry spends so much money promoting its products, and that "violence is a subjective term which is fairly nebulous and elastic," a view unlikely to be shared by those scarred by bottles wielded by drunks. Now that the methods used by the tobacco industry have been exposed, few serious commentators believe what they say. Unfortunately, the alcohol industry seems to be going down the same path. European commissioners will miss a valuable opportunity to improve the health of their fellow citizens if they are taken in by the alcohol industry's arguments." [6]

Tobacco Industry Ties

The Weinberg Group carried out a similar role for the tobacco industry. Myron Weinberg is described as a tobacco industry consultant in a thesis paper produced by Elisa Ong of the University of California San Francisco titled "Tobacco Industry Efforts Subverting the International Agency for Research on Cancer's Secondhand Smoke Study."[7]. Myron Weinberg is also listed in a Philip Morris grants and projects budget as being paid $50,000 in 1995 alone for "Consulting Related to ETS [Environmental Tobacco Smoke] Projects." [8]. Weinberg also organised a risk management conference for Philip Morris Worldwide Scientific Affairs department. Weinberg were paid $250,000 for the conference and the development and publicity for a body of academic knowledge sympathetic to the industry position. [9]. Weinberg were also recruited to assist the tobacco industry's law firm, Covington and Burling, with implementing a multinational Environmental Tobacco Smoke scientific witness program (also known as the "Whitecoat Project.") The Project was an effort by the industry to clandestinely find, recruit and train third party scientists to act as credible, disinterested third parties who would speak, write and testify in the industry's favour on the subject of secondhand smoke without disclosing ties to the tobacco industry [10]

A Philip Morris internal document dated 1989 describes the Weinberg Group as a "witness search firm," and describes their role in the ETS project. It says the tobacco industry "used [the Weinberg Group] 4-5 years ago in initial effort to identify scientists on ETS" and that they "found 8-9 scientists, many of which have since fallen by the wayside...Today even more resistance among scientific community to working with the industry." The Weinberg Group at that time provided Covington & Burling (C&B) with the names of 33 potential scientists to recruit into the project. C&B "reviewed their resumes and bibliographies, and ensured that the selected scientists held no negative [to the industry] views on ETS, that their position on primary [smoking] is that it is no more than a 'risk factor,' and that they are not retained by other companies as potential court witnesses." [11]

Pharma PPA & Vioxx

After a long standing disagreement between the American Food and Drug Administration and pharma companies, including Bayer, Sandoz (now part of Novartis),Wyeth and GlaxoSmithKline over the safety of PPA's. Yale University medical school were commissioned to clear up the debate. For twenty years the FDA had questioned the safety of the drug and believed it to be the cause of hemorrhagic strokes in young women. The Yale study was a compromise between the FDA and pharmaceutical industry representatives. Yale was chosen by industry to conduct the research as they would be the funder and the FDA agreed. In 1999 Yale Medical School confirmed that PPA did indeed cause hemorrhagic strokes. Instead of withdrawing the drug big pharma employed the Weinberg Group to defend the $500 million product. [12]


The Weinberg Group have recently been included in an investigation by the US Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee regarding Weinberg's involvement in their work on the chemical Bisphenol A, and other chemicals. Bisphenol could be linked with diabetes, cancer and obesity, may be used in material that lines the cans of infant formula and may leach into the baby food itself, exposing infants to Bisphenol A. Bart Stupak the chair of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee said:

From previous correspondence, it appears that the Weinberg Group prides itself on using its ‘scientific capital’ to create an outcome desired by corporate clients...It is not at all clear whether such outcomes are supported by the real scientific evidence. Our Committee will be interested to see whether the proponents of Bisphenol A have paid to engineer science that reaches pre-determined conclusions.

The Committees are keen to explore further a 2003 letter authored by a Weinberg consultant and sent to Jane Brooks the VP of Special initiatives for DuPont de Nemours & Company, outlines various tactics to “shape the debate” surrounding perfluorochemicals and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)is used to make Teflon and was once used in other products such as Stainmaster and Gore-Tex. According to Environmental Science and Technology online the letter states

“The constant theme which permeates our recommendations on the issues faced by DuPont is that DUPONT MUST SHAPE THE DEBATE AT ALL LEVELS,” states the letter (emphasis in original). For 23 years, the letter continues, the Weinberg Group “has helped numerous companies manage issues allegedly related to environmental exposures. Beginning with Agent Orange in 1983, we have successfully guided clients through myriad regulatory, litigation and public relations challenges posed by those whose agenda is to grossly over regulate, extract settlements from, or otherwise damage the chemical manufacturing industry.” [13]

The US committees are also interested in investigating Weinberg Group suggestions for defending the use of controversial chemicals by "developing “blue-ribbon panels” to create “awareness of safety regarding PFOA”; “constructing a study to establish not only that PFOA is safe”; and coordinating the “publishing of white papers on PFOA, junk science and the limits of medical monitoring.” [14].

According to ABC:

Investigators for the House Energy and Commerce Committee say they have obtained deleted pages from the Weinberg Group's Web site where the firm took credit for delaying the cancellation of a harmful drug for nearly a decade at the request of two pharmaceutical clients, and other industry victories. [15]

The American news agency ABC also reported that investigators found that Weinberg had "debunked" research indicating certain hair dye increased cancer risk. Furthermore, ABC reported that the Weinberg Group won clients the right to continue using chlorofluorocarbons, which are known to harm the environment, despite a global ban covering most sources of the substances [16]


Edinburgh Office

Washington Office

Brussels Office

Encinitas Office

Sanfrancisco Office



The groups gives the following addresses on its website[18]:

Washington, DC

1220 Nineteenth St, NW, Suite 300 Washington, DC 20036 USA P +1 202.833.8077 F +1 202.833.7057

Brussels, Belgium

360 Boulevard du Souverain box 5 B - 1160 Brussels BELGIUM P +32 2.626.1170 F +32 2.626.1179

San Francisco, CA

Steuart Tower, Suite 1450 One Market San Francisco, CA 94105 USA P +1 415.357.1123 F +1 415.357.3660

Edinburgh, Scotland

Mrs Sarah McKenzie 3 Straiton View Straiton Business Park Midlothian Edinburgh EH20 9QZ

Tel: 0131 440 9350 Fax: 0131 440 9360[19]


  1. Weinberg Group Company Website About Us Last accessed December 3rd 2007
  2. Weinberg Group Website Contact Us Last accessed April 23rd 2008
  3. Talent Scotland Website Weinberg Group Last accessed 27 Oct 2009
  4. Talent Scotland Weinberg Group accessed 4th September
  5. Anderson & Baumberg Alcohol & Alcoholism Vol. 42, No. 1, pp. 1–2, 2007
  6. Martin McKee, BMJ Editorial, October 16th 2006 A European alcohol strategy Will the opportunity be missed? Last accessed December 4rd 2007
  7. Legacy Tobacco Documents Library Tobacco Industry Efforts Subverting the International Agency for Research on Cancer's Second Hand Smoke Study PDF page 75. Last accessed December 4th 2007
  8. Legacy Tobacco Documents Library Exhibit-E Research Grants & Projects Last accessed December 4th 2007
  9. Legacy Tobacco Documents Library Technical Project Avtivity Summary Last accessed December 4th 2007
  10. Dr. Sharon Boyse February 1998 Note On a Special Meeting Of the UK Industry on Ernvironmental Tobacco Smoke, British American Tobacco Company, Bates No. 2063791181/1187. (Note these are the minutes taken by a BAT employee of PM's presentation) Last accessed December 4th 2007
  11. Legacy Tobacco Documents Library No Title Last accessed December 4th 2007
  12. David Michaels, SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, INC 2005 Doubt is their product accessed 4th September 2009
  13. ES&T Online The Weinberg proposal Last accessed April 23rd
  14. Committee on Energy and Commerce Website News Release February 2008 Last accessed April 23rd 2008
  15. ABC Website Exclusive: 'Science for Sale' Probe Deepens Last accessed April 23rd 2008
  16. ABC News Exclusive: 'Science for Sale' Probe Deepens Last accessed April 23rd 2008
  17. ACSH Scientific Advisers, accessed 27 October 2009
  18. Weinberg Group Company Website About Us Last accessed December 3rd 2007
  19. Talent Scotland Website Weinberg Group Last accessed April 23rd