Dismissal of eight tobacco industry lawsuits against the Panamanian State
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Gorgas Memorial Institute for Health Studies, Panama City, Panama
Ministry of Health, Panama City, Panama
Publication date: 2019-10-12
Corresponding author
Hedley Quintana   

Gorgas Memorial Institute for Health Studies, Panama City, Panama
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2019;17(Suppl 1):A45
Panama has implemented several tobacco control health regulations (TCHR), contained in law 13/2008, that are stated in the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). Consequently, Panama has the lowest recorded prevalence of tobacco use in adults in the Americas.
The tobacco industry (TI) has interpreted the TCHR as a means of damaging its products, its business model and its clients, and it has sued the Panamanian State to render the TCHR null and void. If the TCHR are allowed to become null and void, the TI will be free to advertise its products.
The lawsuits in which the Panamanian State is the defendant have been deliberated in the Contentious-Administrative Room, also known as the Third Room, of the Panamanian Supreme Court (PSC) due to the lack of lower courts in the Panamanian legal system. Each room of the PSC is presided over by three justices. Since 2010, the TI has sued the Panamanian State nine times. After deliberations, the justices of the Third Room have dismissed eight of the TI claims, but there is still one lawsuit concerning which a verdict has not yet been reached.
These rulings are important because they exemplify the interaction between TCHR and the law, including jurisprudence regarding the right to health that people hold in the context of human rights.
This study is financed by public funds. Some of these public funds come from the Selective Tax on the Consumption of Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products. This tax discourages the use of tobacco products. However, the funds coming from this tax are used in activities to improve the primary and secondary prevention of tobacco-associated diseases, such as this study.
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