Corporate Accountability represents hundreds of thousands of people globally that for over 40 years has challenged abusive corporations that prioritize profits over public health. We welcome the report of the Director General and urge adoption of decision EB144(1). However, powerful transnational corporations remain the single greatest threat to the implementation of the global action plan.
Governments faced with increasingly sophisticated attempts by the private sector to delay, weaken, and derail public health policies key to the plan must remain vigilant. Most notably, the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World is the latest tobacco industry vehicle designed to undermine tobacco control globally. The foundation claims to be independent and working in the interest of public health despite being created with a pledge of $80 million in funding over 12 years by tobacco giant Philip Morris International. Public health advocates have rejected the foundation with the knowledge that this is merely a tried and true industry tactic to open markets for new, so-called “reduced-harm” tobacco products, produce industry friendly research, promote public relations, gain access to policy makers and, ultimately, renormalize the tobacco industry in the pursuit of profit. And, unfortunately, this is only one example of how the private sector seeks to undermine progress on eradicating NCDs. Given the threat that transnational corporations pose to public health interventions, governments must and take effective action to protect public health policies from corporate influence. We, therefore, recommend that governments:
1) implement Article 5.3 of the FCTC and extend its application to food and alcohol industries to protect policies key to the global action plan;2)implement Article 19 of the FCTC to recoup the health costs associated with the tobacco epidemic and shift abusive industry practices;In addition, we urge the WHO to cease engagement with the food and alcohol industry