Peer, N., & Kengne, A. P. (2021). Predators in the park: multinational corporates versus population health. Comment, 9(11), E1479-E1480. 10-1016/S2214-109X(21)00414-9
In The Lancet Global Health, Luke N Allen and colleagues(1) address an important and topical issue. They describe the worldwide uptake of legislation and implementation of 19 policies for non-communicable diseases (NCD) recommended by WHO from 2015 to 2020. Despite the inability to establish the effectiveness of such policy implementations, which is the ultimate benchmark of policy success, their study provides some valuable insights on determinants of policy implementation.
That policies relating to alcohol, tobacco, and unhealthy foods were least likely to be implemented was unsurprising (1).
Mean implementation decreased for all alcohol policies (1). In view of the large health and social burden attributable to risky alcohol use, together with its adverse effects on sustainable development, this decrease in alcohol policies is unfortunate. Despite the strong parallels between tobacco and alcohol, and that risky alcohol use is a pervasive global issue with potentially devastating consequences, there has been disproportionally inadequate attention paid to this matter (2).
There is extensive evidence on the effectiveness of different policies in reducing alcohol-related harm (3) and a longstanding call for a Framework Convention on Alcohol Control (FCAC) (4). However, the WHO or member states are unlikely to support this process (4). In the absence of a FCAC, alcohol conglomerates, similar to their tobacco counterparts, are able to infiltrate high- abstinence populations, mainly in vulnerable LMICs. Traditionally low-alcohol-consuming populations such as non-western youth and women are then transformed into high-alcohol-consuming populations (4). An urgent call to action is needed to pressurise stakeholders to introduce alcohol-control measures to counterbalance the influence of alcohol corporates.
Corporate lobbying is widespread across the globe and probably an extremely influential motivation for policy- maker decisions regarding NCD policies. Unfortunately, the inability to accurately measure such activities (1) prevents their harmful effects from being quantified. Corporate lobbying is generally shrouded in secrecy but has far-reaching consequences; greater transparency is required if the tide against the rising global NCD burden is to be tackled.
- Allen LN, Holmer H, Wigley S. Implementation of non-communicable disease policies from 2015 to 2020: a geopolitical analysis of 194 countries. Lancet Glob Health 2021; 9: e1528–38.
- Peer N. There has been little progress in implementing comprehensive alcohol control strategies in Africa. Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse 2017;43: 631–35.
- Anderson P, Chisholm D, Fuhr DC. Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of policies and programmes to reduce the harm caused by alcohol. Lancet 2009; 373: 2234–46.
- Casswell S, Thamarangsi T. Reducing harm from alcohol: call to action. Lancet 2009; 373: 2247–57.
To read the full article, click on the following link: https://www.thelancet.com/action/showPdf?pii=S2214-109X%2821%2900414-9