McCambridge, J., Mialon, M., Hawkins, B. (2018). Alcohol industry involvement in policymaking: a systematic review. Addiction, 113(9), 1571-1584.



To summarize the substantive findings of studies of alcohol industry involvement in national or supranational policymaking, and to produce a new synthesis of current evidence.


This study examined peer-reviewed journal reports published in the English language between 1980 and 2016 of studies of alcohol industry involvement in policymaking. Included studies were required to provide information on data collection and analysis and to have sought explicitly to investigate interventions by alcohol industry actors within the process of public policymaking. Eight electronic databases were searched on 27 February 2017. The methodological strengths and limitations of individual studies and the literature as a whole were examined. A thematic synthesis using an inductive approach to the generation of themes was guided by the research aims and objectives.


Twenty reports drawn from 15 documentary and interview studies identify the pervasive influence of alcohol industry actors in policymaking. This evidence synthesis indicates that industry actors seek to influence policy in two principal ways by: (1) framing policy debates in a cogent and internally consistent manner, which excludes from policy agendas issues that are contrary to commercial interests; and (2) adopting short- and long-term approaches to managing threats to commercial interests within the policy arena by building relationships with key actors using a variety of different organizational forms. This review pools findings from existing studies on the range of observed impacts on national alcohol policy decision-making throughout the world.


Alcohol industry actors are highly strategic, rhetorically sophisticated and well organized in influencing national policymaking.

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