Hammargren's background lies in the pharmaceutical industry, where he worked for 25 years. He then worked a few years for the Swedish Embassy in Japan, promoting investment in Sweden. Upon his return to Sweden he joined Biora, a small biotech company. He was also on the board of a number of other small biotech companies.
Relationship with the Tobacco Industry
In 2004, Hammargren started consulting for Swedish Match to help launch a chewing gum in Japan that contained three per cent snus. The chewing gum had met with opposition from the pharmaceutical industry and the Ministry of Health, and Hammargren was brought in to explain what Swedish smokeless tobacco was. Hammargren continued working for Swedish Match, mainly promoting snus.
Role in ‘Dalligate’ and the Revision of the EU Tobacco Products Directive
In 2012 EU Health Commissioner John Dalli 'resigned' following a ‘cash for influence’ lobbying scandal involving Swedish Match.
For more details on tobacco lobbying scandal dubbed 'Dalligate', click here.
OLAF's investigation of the scandal revealed that Hammargren, at the time employed by BAT and Chairman of ESTOC, had met Dalli “off-the-record” to discuss the TPD review and the ban on snus sales. Although Hammargren was never an official witness in the investigation, the OLAF report includes Hammargren’s account of a meeting with John Dalli on 20 August 2010 in Dalli's home country of Malta. According to the OLAF report the meeting had been requested by Hammargren but much remains unclear.
According to Hammargren’s account of events, his objective was to “establish dialogue with Mr Dalli re snus/smokeless”, although he noted that Dalli had been strongly advised by the Commission not to meet with tobacco companies. Hammargren further noted that he believed that Dalli had “liked the atmosphere of the meeting and the discussions we had”. The meeting ended with Hammargren sharing three academic articles with Dalli which supported his views on snus as a possible tobacco harm reduction product.
Hammargren’s record of events suggests that this meeting may have been part of a lobbying strategy that targeted Dalli, DG SANCO, and other Directorates in the Commission. Under ‘next steps’, Hammargren wrote:
- "Feed-back from Silvio (very close friend to JD)";
- "Continue to feed Dalli Cabinett [sic] with new scientific data and arguments for a regulation";
- "Continue the info work with other key DG’s (if there is an opening with JD, potential support/interest from other DG’s will be important)".
- How online sales and promotion of snus contravenes current European Union legislation, S Peeters, AB Gilmore, 2013, Tobacco Control, 22:266-273
- The revision of the 2014 European tobacco products directive: an analysis of the tobacco industry’s attempts to ‘break the health silo’, S. Peeters, H. Costa, D. Stuckler, M. McKee, A.B. Gilmore, 2016, Tobacco Control; 25:108-117
- Quantifying the influence of tobacco industry on EU governance: automated content analysis of the EU Tobacco Products Directive, H. Costa, A.B. Gilmore, S. Peeters, M. McKee, D. Stuckler, 2014, Tobacco Control; 23:473-478
- Nicoventures, Our Team, www.nicoventures.co.uk, accessed July 2013
- ESTOC, Structure, www.estoc.org, accessed August 2011
- European Anti-Fraud Office OLAF, Written Meeting Review & Report prepared by Tomas Hammargren on 20 August 2010. In: Transmission of information following a closure of investigation, Fax from Giovanni Kessler to Peter Grech, dated 17 October 2012