July 23th 2022, Follow the Money
The misleading outdated message from the alcohol industry that moderate alcohol consumption makes you live longer eventually ends up with the general practitioner. This is the conclusion from the second article by journalist Petra Wijnsema of Follow-the-Money about the Dutch alcohol prevention policy.
The message from the alcohol industry reaches general practitioners through the Dutch Beer Institute, which offers healthcare personnel free medical training in which alcohol use is framed in a favorable way. The institute presents itself as ‘the scientific institute in the field of responsible beer consumption and health’.
The Dutch brewers (https://www.nederlandsebrouwers.nl) are the main financier and the website only cites studies into moderate alcohol consumption. Following questions from Follow the Money, the online course is no longer offered by four professional associations and the accreditation has been partially withdrawn. The latter mainly because of financing by the alcohol industry and not so much because of the content.
Professor Martijn Katan (Free University Amsterdam) thinks it’s ‘insane’ that we let the beer industry teach nurses and doctor’s assistants about the effect of beer and wine on health. “These are the disastrous consequences of the transfer of government tasks to the market. Market forces destroy more than you would like.”
A website of the alcohol industry that also contains very outdated information is www.alcoholrichtlijn.nl (‘alcoholguideline.nl’). This is a campaign of the Foundation for Responsible Alcohol Consumption (STIVA), the Dutch lobby organization of the alcohol industry. The website was created to sow confusion about the Dutch Health Council’s 2015 advice not to drink alcohol and if you drink, no more than a maximum of one glass a day. The website was used (partly successfully) in 2018 by the industry during the negotiations on the National Prevention Agreement. So the outdated messages of the alcohol industry aren’t just tucked away on websites that no one visits. They are actively used by the alcohol lobby in an attempt to prevent a stricter prevention alcohol policy.
NB: The English version of the complete article is available at request.