By Nicholas Freudenberg, Founder, Corporations and Health Watch
Readers of Corporations and Health Watch are familiar with the argument that the corporate practices that harm health are for the most part perfectly legal. However, recent media coverage of the scandals at Volkswagen and Johnson & Johnson led me to ask why some businesses choose to break the law. In the first, documented thoroughly in Steven Brill’s 15 chapter “docuserial” America’s Most Admired Lawbreaker posted last month on the Huffington Post Highline, the drug and medical device maker Johnson and Johnson (J&J) promoted Risperdal, an antipsychotic drug approved by the FDA for treating schizophrenia to children and older people for a much wider set of indications than those approved by the FDA. In 2013, Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay more than $2.2 billion in criminal and civil fines to settle accusations that it improperly promoted Risperdal.
Continue reading Why VW and Johnson & Johnson Crossed the Line: Towards a Theory of Corporate Law Breaking
Emma Woodford, Founder and Director, Health and Trade Network (HaT)
Cross posted from Health and Trade Network
“… the forces of power, particularly corporate power, are impatient with what is adequate for a coherent community. Because power gains so little from community in the short run, it does not hesitate to destroy community for the long run.” ― Wes Jackson, Becoming Native to This Place
In case you had been asleep for the last ten days, last week in New York the UN finally ratified the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aiming to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all.
Continue reading Health and Trade: what hope for SDG3?
by Nicholas Freudenberg
Coca-Cola, the world’s largest maker of sugary beverages, has spent almost $120 million in the past five years to pay for academic health research, partnerships with major medical groups and community fitness programs aimed at curbing the obesity epidemic, reports the New York Times.
Continue reading Coca Cola: what have they done for your community lately?
Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
WASHINGTON, DC – For the first time since being granted regulatory authority over tobacco products by a 2009 law, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration today ordered a tobacco company (R.J. Reynolds) to pull a major cigarette brand – Camel Crush Bold – off the market. The agency acted under a key provision of the law that requires prior FDA review and authorization before tobacco companies market new or changed products.
Continue reading FDA for First Time Orders Major Cigarette Brand Pulled Off the Market, Sending Strong Message to Manufacturers about Complying with 2009 Law
Michele Simon, Cross-posted from Eat Drink Politics
Hundreds of pages of disclosed communications from the American Egg Board reveal a coordinated two-year plan to undermine and attack Hampton Creek, the San Francisco-based food company, seen as a “threat” and “major crisis” to the egg industry.
Continue reading Hampton Creek targeted by USDA-controlled egg industry program
Corporate Europe Observatory
The pharmaceutical industry – including companies, associations and the top ten lobby firms they employ – have a declared lobby spend of nearly €40 million. That is around 15 times more than the lobby expenditure of civil society and consumer groups which work on public health or access to medicines. Although many pharma industry actors declare more realistic expenditure in the lobby register than three years ago, the real spending may be much more. Nonetheless, the top ten biggest spending pharmaceutical companies now declare €6 million more than in 2012, whilst the top eight European pharmaceutical industry trade associations declare seven times more. Moreover this powerful lobby has had a staggering number of meetings with European Commission departments and officials. The largest public-private partnership in the EU is with the pharmaceutical industry. Alongside its gargantuan resources and considerable access, the industry has an impressive lobbying arsenal. Its efforts are now focused on ensuring US-EU trade agreement TTIP furthers its profit-motivated agenda, including its property rights and to prevent vital data transparency for big pharma’s clinical trials.
Continue reading Policy prescriptions: The firepower of the EU pharmaceutical lobby and implications for public health
How does the size of governments and corporations compare? To answer this question, I identified one metric often used to measure the size of organizations: annual revenues. I then found a source for annual revenues for governments, The CIA World Fact Book and another for corporations, The Global Fortune 500 List. Both provided data for 2014. The results below show that of the 100 governments and corporations with the highest annual revenues in 2014, 63 are corporations and 37 are governments. Previous analysts have compared corporations to national economies, a different measure. In 2000, Anderson and Cavanagh found that of the 100 largest economies in the world, 51 were global corporations and 49 were countries. In 2012, the economic analyst D. Steven White listed the top 175 “economic entities” in the world for 2011, using GDP for nations and revenues for corporations. Of these, 63% were corporations and 37% were nations.
Continue reading The 100 Largest Governments and Corporations by Revenue