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Home > Intergovernmental institutions > World Health Organization >  Dr. Chan will protect alcohol policy from industry

Dr. Chan will protect alcohol policy from industry

WHO Director General, Dr. Margaret Chan, will protect alcohol policy making from commercial or vested interests of the alcohol industry. She welcomes an initiative by researchers and civil society organizations that keep careful watch over the behaviour of the alcohol industry.


Dr. Chan WHO DG
WHO Director General Dr. Chan will protect alcohol policy from distortion by vested interests
In a comment to an article in the British Medical Journal on 11 April 2013, Dr. Chan stated that the WHO global alcohol strategy stipulates that “member states have a primary responsibility for formulating, implementing, monitoring and evaluating public policies to reduce the harmful use of alcohol. The development of alcohol policies is the sole prerogative of national authorities. In the view of WHO, the alcohol industry has no role in the formulation of alcohol policies, which must be protected from distortion by commercial or vested interests.”

The reply is related to a Statement of Concern drafted by 16 researchers and civil society representatives under the auspices of the Global Alcohol Policy Alliance (GAPA) and reported in the British Medical Journal. The GAPA statement was drawn up in response to public announcements made in October 2012 by 13 of the world’s leading alcohol producers, outlining their commitments to implementing the WHO Global Alcohol Strategy.
Professor Thomas Babor, from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, USA, led the drafting of the Statement. He commented: “Based on their lack of support for effective alcohol policies, misinterpretation of the Global Strategy’s provisions, and their lobbying against effective public health measures, we believe that the alcohol industry’s inappropriate commitments must be met with a united response from global health community.”
States Dr. Chan in her reply: “WHO is grateful to the many researchers and civil society organizations that keep careful watch over the behaviour of the alcohol industry.” She also intends to invite representatives of GAPA to explore the concerns in greater detail.
Dr. Chan concludes her reply by pointing out that “conflicts of interest are an inherent risk in any relationship between a public health agency, like WHO, and industry; conflict of interest safeguards are in place at WHO and have recently been strengthened. WHO intends to use these safeguards stringently in its interactions with the alcohol industry.”



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