According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Coca-Cola has been exposed as having a secret plan to monitor research at Sydney University that examines how private companies influence public health outcomes in areas such as obesity. In a leaked internal email, a paid consultant to Coca-Cola South Pacific writes that a “key action” for the global soft-drinks manufacturer is to “monitor research project outcomes through CPC [Charles Perkins Centre] linked to Lisa Bero’s projects”. Professor Lisa Bero has been targeted for “monitoring” by Coca-Cola for her research on nutrition and bias.
National Rifle Association committees making independent campaign expenditures to oppose Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton have spent more than $14 million on the race, surpassing the spending of the most active pro-Trump Super PAC. According to FEC filings collected by ProPublica covering spending through October 20, the NRA Institute for Legislative Action has spent $7,057,970 opposing Clinton and the NRA Political Victory Fund has spent $7,127,423.
Advocates debated Proposition 61 — a California state ballot measure that aims to standardize drug prices — at a panel last week at University of California Berkeley, reports The Daily Californian. If passed, Proposition 61 would tie prescription drug prices paid by certain state agencies to the discounted price that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs pays. While Dan Johnston, research director for the California Nurses Association, argued that Proposition 61 addresses a pressing need for bold action to reduce drug prices, Kathy Fairbanks, a spokesperson for the “No On Prop 61” campaign said passing the measure could have unintended consequences for veterans and could result in higher drug prices for California or reduce access to medicine. The language of the initiative would restrict state agencies from entering into purchasing contracts with drug manufacturers where the price is higher than the price the VA pays. The VA gets a 24 percent discount on drugs, per a federal mandate.
Voters in four US cities will have the rare opportunity on November 8 to decide whether sugary beverages should be taxed, and billionaires and soda makers are pouring huge sums of money into swaying their choice at the polls, writes Vox. San Francisco, Oakland, and Albany, California, all have ballot measures that would levy a penny-per-ounce tax on distributors of sugary drinks. The people of Boulder, Colorado, will also vote on a two-cent-per-ounce excise tax on distributors. The stakes this year — for the beverage industry and for health-minded philanthrocapitalists who want to fight obesity — are high.
Today, Food Policy Action, a national food advocacy organization, released its National Food Policy Scorecard for the 114th Congress. This is the 5th annual Congressional scorecard released by the organization to educate the public about votes taken by Congress on critically important food issues. While there was some headway on the passage of good food policies – and scores overall increased by 6 points since the 113th Congress – Washington is still falling short, showing little progress on major food policy in the last two years.
“This year’s Scorecard shows that Congress owes the American public much better leadership on these issues,” said FPA co-founder, food advocate, and chef Tom Colicchio. “Food is connected to every critical issue facing our nation – everything from our health, economy, and immigration, to labor and the environment. These issues matter to Republicans, Democrats, and independents. How Members of Congress vote on related policies has a tremendous impact on our food system. Food Policy Action also announced its targets and its endorsements for the 2016 election.”
Writing in the DePaul Law Review, Richard Marcus observes that it is always better to have the breeze at your back, but that surely has not recently been the case for class action proponents. At the risk of overstating, there is a certain fin de siècle flavor to current procedural discussions, at least among academics; it seems that several foundational principles of late twentieth century procedural ordering have come under attack in the twenty-first century. Although not alone among those principles, class actions have a prominent role. Dean Robert Klonoff has recently written of “The Decline of Class Actions,” and Professor Linda Mullenix has written of “Ending Class Actions as We Know Them.” Professor Arthur Miller-who was present at the creation of the modern class action-has suggested that we face “the death of aggregate litigation by a thousand paper cuts.” But he, at least, sees some “rays of light that indicate it will survive.” …
Continue reading Bending in the Breeze: American Class Actions in the Twenty-First Century
A parallel legal universe, open only to corporations and largely invisible to everyone else, helps executives convicted of crimes escape punishment. In a four part series, BuzzFeed investigates investor-state dispute settlements, or ISDS, a process for settling disputes between corporations and governments. The rules for settling investor-state disputes are written into a network of treaties that govern international trade and investment, including NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Congress must soon decide whether to ratify.
At a brewers’ conference this spring, an alcohol lobbyist fired a warning shot in what has become a multimillion-dollar global battle, reports The Wall Street Journal. Public-health officials “want to tell you that alcohol causes cancer,” Sarah Longwell, managing director of the American Beverage Institute, told the crowd. The industry, she said, was in danger of losing its “health halo.” Continue reading With Moderate Drinking Under Fire, Alcohol Companies Go on Offensive
Hundreds of gay activists will begin a campaign of civil disobedience and direct action against gun companies and their supporters, to demand an end to the epidemic of gun violence blighting the US, reports The Guardian. Members of Gays Against Guns, a group formed in the wake of the massacre of 49 people at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando earlier this summer, said they would “no longer stand by and watch the gun industry profit from death”. Above, the group pictured during the 2016 NYC Pride March. Credit.
A new report by Public Citizen found that of 147 patients’ groups that sided with the pharmaceutical industry against a Medicare Part B demonstration project designed to lower the prices of expensive drugs, at least 110 (75%) received funding from the industry. Continue reading Patients’ Groups and Big Pharma