Search the Site


American and international health insurers hold $4.5 billion worth of stock in tobacco companies, a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine finds. The study’s co-author says the stock holdings represent a conflict of interest: “If you own a billion dollars [of tobacco stock], then you don’t want to see it go down. … You are less likely to join anti-tobacco coalitions, endorse anti-tobacco legislation, basically, anything most health companies would want to participate in.” While $4.5 billion represents a small share of insurers’ investments, it’s worth noting that sometimes it is perversely gainful for institutions to invest in self-destructive activities. One 2004 paper, for example, found that binge drinking could be a boon to Social Security. [%comments]