Rich Countries Watering Down NCD Commitments To Appease Multinational Companies
In this Sydney Morning Herald opinion piece, Boyd Swinburn, a professor and director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention at Deakin University in Australia, examines how "rich countries, ... particularly the U.S. and European Union but also Australia, Canada and New Zealand, ... are joining forces with tobacco, food, alcohol and pharmaceutical corporations to water down commitments that might flow from" this month's U.N. High-level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in New York.
He writes, "Since the proposed policies include smoke-free environments, restrictions on food marketing to children, increased alcohol tax and the promotion of generic medicines, those multinational businesses see them as a threat to the sales of their products," adding, "With the help of Australia, Canada and [the] U.S., ... [a] statement with commitments to tangible outcomes has long been tossed aside and been replaced with a much weaker political statement with all targets and accountability mechanisms removed." However, Swinburn says that "if any country can provide a global exemplar for poorer countries to reduce NCDs, it should be Australia," and he calls on the country to "show some positive leadership and humanity" (9/7).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.