A new study analysed whether the World Trade Organization (WTO) discusses how alcohol industry influence over alcohol policy. 

 Specifically, Barlow et al. (2022) conducted a qualitative analysis to study discussion on alcohol health warning labelling policies that occurred at a WTO’s meeting. 

They find that:

  • WTO members made 212 statements (between March 24, 2010, and Nov 15, 2019) on ten alcohol labelling policies proposed by Thailand, Kenya, the Dominican Republic, Israel, Turkey, Mexico, India, South Africa, Ireland, and South Korea.
  • WTO members stated that their claims represented industry in seven (3·3%) of 212 statements, and 117 (55·2%) statements featured industry arguments.
  • Member statements featured many arguments used by industry in domestic policy forums to stall alcohol policy.
  • Arguments focused on descaling and reframing the nature and causes of alcohol-related problems, promoting alternative policies such as information campaigns, promoting industry partnerships, questioning the evidence, and emphasising manufacturing and wider economic costs and harms.

Based on these results it appears that WTO members are influenced by alcohol industry interests but that only few challenges explicitly referenced industry demands. This shows that increased transparency about vested interests might be needed to overcome industry influence. 


Barlow, P., Gleeson, D., O’Brien, P., & Labonte, R. (2022). Industry influence over global alcohol policies via the World Trade Organization: a qualitative analysis of discussions on alcohol health warning labelling, 2010-19. Lancet Global Health. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(21)00570-2

Find the abstract of the article in our website: https://eucam.info/2022/02/07/industry-influence-over-global-alcohol-policies-via-the-world-trade-organization-a-qualitative-analysis-of-discussions-on-alcohol-health-warning-labelling-2010-19-2022/




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