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.
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.
Last week, reported the New York Times, Warren Braren, a critic of the tobacco industry who helped to spark a Congressional ban on tobacco advertising, died at the age of 82. Let’s examine the contributions of this champion of public health.
Eight years ago, I wrote in CHW about how and why corporations buy scientists to advance their business goals. Sadly, the problem continues. This week the New York Times published a story on how Coca Cola has funded researchers at the University of South Carolina, the University of Colorado and the West Virginia University to make the case that exercise, not reduced consumption of sugary beverages, is the solution to obesity. Coke has also funded the Global Energy Balance Network, a nonprofit network of the researchers it funds, to advance this argument more widely.
Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
As they complete negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, the United States and the 11 other countries involved must ensure the final agreement protects the right of participating nations to adopt public health measures to reduce tobacco use and prevents tobacco companies from using the TPP to attack such measures.
August is a time for vacations and reading on the beach—or in an air-conditioned library. For those dedicated Corporations and Health Watch readers who can’t resist an opportunity to find out more about how corporations influence well-being, here are a few recent novels that provide additional insights into this process. For those who worry about the quality of the scientific evidence in these accounts, remember it was the public outrage generated by Upton Sinclair’s novel The Jungle that played a key role in creating the United State Food and Drug Administration in 1906.
While the western United States is suffering from crippling drought, the Midwest is reeling from an unprecedented outbreak of avian flu, mostly among egg-laying chickens and other forms of poultry.
The numbers are staggering. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 223 outbreaks in 15 states have been identified over the past six months, affecting more than 48 million birds, with more cases expected. The hardest-hit states, all of which have declared states of emergency, are Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin. About 11 percent of the nation’s egg-laying hens have been slaughtered out of fear that they might be infected.