Changing Corporate Practices to Reduce Non-Communicable Diseases and Injuries: A Promising Strategy for Improving Global Public Health?

In presentations on “Changing Corporate Practices to Reduce Non-Communicable Diseases and Injuries: A Promising Strategy for Improving Global Public Health?” at Edinburgh University and University of Glasgow, Nicholas Freudenberg, Distinguished Professor of Public Health at City University of New York School of Public Health, described the role of corporate business and political practices on the growing global burden of non-communicable diseases and injuries. He also analyzed what roles public health professionals can play in countering the adverse health effects of these practices. View the presentation.

Ford Recalls 280,000 Vehicles

Ford has issued a recall for around 202,000 of its best-selling pick-up trucks, SUVs and cars over a problem with the transmission that could suddenly downshift and cause a drop in speed, reports Fortune. Ford said the problem was based in the software installed in its speed sensor, and the recall will involve an update and vehicle inspections. The Detroit-based automaker also recalled 81,000 2014-2015 Ford Explorer and Ford Police Interceptor Utility vehicles to fix poor weld quality in its rear suspension links that could lead to a fracture.

Valeant’s Michael Pearson Admits Aggressive Drug-Price Increases Were a Mistake

The Wall Street Journal reports that Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. was too aggressive in dramatically raising the prices of some of its drugs, the company’s outgoing chief executive told a Senate committee Wednesday, while its newest board member promised swift changes. Michael Pearson, who oversaw the rise and fall of Valeant, told the committee that Valeant’s strategy of buying and increasing prices on many drugs was a mistake. The testimony, under sharp questioning, highlighted Valeant’s stark fall from Wall Street darling to Washington punching bag, and showed how much it has at stake. Its stock is ​down more than 85% from its high last August. Drug-price increases have overshadowed the company’s broader work, and “we therefore need to work to regain the confidence of Congress, the public, doctors and patients,” Mr. Pearson told the Senate Special Committee on Aging.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Is It Everything We Feared for Health?

Photo: Protesters concerned about the TPP effect on health gather in Atlanta, Georgia. Credit.

by Ronald Labonté, Ashley Schram, Arne Ruckert

Negotiations surrounding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade and investment agreement have recently concluded. Although trade and investment agreements, part of a broader shift to global economic integration, have been argued to be vital to improved economic growth, health, and general welfare, these agreements have increasingly come under scrutiny for their direct and indirect health impacts. 

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Reducing the Role of the Food, Tobacco, and Alcohol Industries in Noncommunicable Disease Risk in South Africa

Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) impose a growing burden on the health, economy, and development of South Africa. According to the World Health Organization, four risk factors, tobacco use, alcohol consumption, unhealthy diets, and physical inactivity, account for a significant proportion of major NCDs. We analyze the role of tobacco, alcohol, and food corporations in promoting NCD risk and unhealthy lifestyles in South Africa and in exacerbating inequities in NCD distribution among populations. Through their business practices such as product design, marketing, retail distribution, and pricing and their business practices such as lobbying, public relations, philanthropy, and sponsored research, national and transnational corporations in South Africa shape the social and physical environments that structure opportunities for NCD risk behavior.

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Globalization, Health and Corporations

What are the positive and negative health consequences of globalization?  How do trade pacts influence health?  What role do corporations play in shaping the direction of globalization?  On April 4, 2016, Ron Labonté, Research Chair in  Globalization and Health Equity at the School of Epidemiology, Public Health and Preventive Medicine at the University of Ottawa addressed these and other questions at a talk on “Globalization and the (new) political economy of health”  at the City University of New York School of Public Health.  View the presentation here.

photo credit: Institute of Population Health, 2007

Soda Consumption Falls to 30-Year Low in U.S.

Slumping demand for diet sodas sold by PepsiCo and Coca Cola propelled a decline for the broader industry, as overall sales of carbonated soft drinks dropped for the 11th consecutive year in the U.S., reports Fortune. Total volume declined 1.2% in 2015, an acceleration from 2014’s 0.9% drop, as the biggest three players in the category all reported falling demand, according to a new report from industry tracker Beverage Digest. The group also reported that annual per capita consumption of carbonated soft drinks dropped to about 650 eight-ounce servings in 2015 – the lowest since 1985.

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Tracking the Effects of Corporate Practices on Health