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28/04/2017

Eurocare is a proud co-signatory of the Conflict of Interest Statement of Concern

The open letter to the WHO DG candidates, addressing the issue of conflicts of interests, asking them how they will ensure integrity, independence and credibility of the WHO as the new DG. The letter has now got 63 signatories.

Open letter to the candidates for WHO DG: accountability and independence in health policy development

Published in The Lancet 27.04.2017

In May, the World Health Organisation (WHO) Member States will meet in Geneva for the 70th World Health Assembly (WHA) and a new WHO Director-General (DG) will be elected. As public-interest NGOs involved in global health governance and the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases, we believe that a fundamental consideration for Member States when electing the DG will be how the new leadership will ensure appropriate interactions with alcohol, food, pharmaceutical and medical technology industries. We invite the three candidates to describe what steps they commit themselves to take to ensure greater transparency, rigor and public scrutiny of WHO’s policy, regulatory and norm setting activities so that they are adequately protected from undue commercial interests.

In May 2016 WHA adopted the Framework of Engagement with Non-State Actors (FENSA), a policy due to be fully operational by May 2018. While FENSA envisages that WHO will “exercise particular caution…when engaging with private sector entities …whose policies or activities are negatively affecting human health..[1],” the rhetoric and direction of WHO’s reform process as well as WHO’s chronic funding challenges have left us deeply concerned rather than reassured. We fear that instead of protecting WHO’s mandate FENSA risks relegating WHO to a limited role, unable to stand up for peoples’ human rights and democratic decision-making.

We draw attention to the Conflict of Interest Statement signed by more than 175 NGOs and networks representing more than 2,000 groups and first launched at the United Nations High-Level Meeting on Non-communicable Diseases in 2011[2]: “The policy development stage should be free from industry involvement to ensure a ‘health in all policies’ approach, which is not compromised by the obvious conflicts of interests associated with food, alcohol, beverage and other industries, that are primarily answerable to shareholders.”

Alcohol, food, pharmaceutical and medical technology industries should comply with policies developed by WHO and its Member States. Their role is not in public health policy formulation, risk assessments, risk management or priority-setting, nor in determining normative quality standards and legally binding regulations to protect and promote public health. These processes must be undertaken in an environment free of commercial influence.

We believe that only a WHO that protects its independence and integrity of decision-making will have the ability to fulfil its constitutional mandate, and look forward to your response to our request.

Yours sincerely,

Katherine Brown, Institute of Alcohol Studies

Patti Rundall, International Baby Food Action Network

Dr Tim Lobstein, World Obesity Federation

Dr Modi Mwatsama, UK Health Forum

Bill Jeffery, Centre for Health Science and Law

Signatories to 'Ensuring integrity, independence and credibility: Open letter to the candidates for WHO DG'

NAME

ORGANISATION

BROWN, Katherine

Institute of Alcohol Studies

LOBSTEIN, Tim

World Obesity Federation

RUNDALL, Patti

International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN)

MWATSAMA, Modi

UK Health Forum

JEFFRY, Bill

Center for Health Science and Law

MACARI, Marisa

Alianza por la Salud Alimentaria (The Alliance for Nutritional Health)

ALLEN, Kate

World Cancer Research Fund International

BAKKE, Oystein

Global Alcohol Policy Alliance

BABB, Anne

International Blue Cross

GUPTA, Arun

Alliance Against Conflict of Interest (AACI)

KAMAL-YANNI, Mohga

OXFAM

SPENCER, Nick

International Association for Social Pediatrics and Child Health (ISSOP)

BIJL, Dick

International Committee of Drug Bulletins (ISDB)

PARKER, Meredith

International Lactation Consultant Association

SPERKOVA, Kristina

IOGT International

SCWARTZ, Thomas

Medicus Mundi International. Network Health for All

MEURS, Mariska

Wemos

HASSE, Mareike

Bread for the World – Protestant Development Service

DURISCH, Patrick

Public Eye (formerly known as Berne Declaration)

MACARI, Marisa

El Poder del Consumidor

MELAU, William Ntakuka

East African Alcohol Policy Alliance

SKAR, Mariann

European Alcohol Policy Alliance (Eurocare)

VAN DALEN, Wim

European Centre for Monitoring Alcohol Marketing (EUCAM)

BLACK, Diane

European Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Alliance

PALMESINO, Ennio

European Mutual help Network for Alcohol related problems (EMNA)

WEBER-SCHOENDORFER, Corinna

European Network of Teratology Information Services (ENTIS)

RENSHAW, Nina

European Public Health Alliance (EPHA)

GALKUS, Lukas

Alcohol Policy Youth Network

MARTIN, Teryy

AlcoHelp

COSTELLO, Suzanne

Alcohol Action Ireland

DOUGLAS, Alison

Alcohol Focus Scotland

DOHERTY, Kieran

Alcohol Forum Ireland

GILMORE, Ian

Alcohol Health Alliance

LIVINGSTON, Bruce Lee

Alcohol Justice

FURBER, Andrew

Association of Directors of Public Health

ALEXANDER, Graeme

British Association for the Study of the Liver

LANGFORD, Andrew

British Liver Trust

KUMAR, Parveen

British Medical Association (BMA)

MORIARTY, Kieran

British Society of Gastroenterology

SCHAABER, Jorg

BUKO Pharma-Kampagne

SHEPARD, Jonathan

Crime and Security Research Institute, Cardiff University

VAN DALEN, Wim

Dutch Institute for Alcohol Policy STAP

BECKER, Gisela

FASD Fachzentrum Berlin

BLACK, Diane

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Foundation of the Netherlands

SOMER, Sari

Finnish Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

THORN, Michael

Foundation for Alcohol Research & Education (FARE)

PESCE, Davide

Forum Savonese del Terzo Settore

CRAWLEY, Helen

Frist Steps Nutriton First

DENTICO, Nicoletta

Health Innovation in Practice (HIP)

BAULD, Linda

Institute for Social Marketing, University of Stirling

DRAMSTAD, Kalle

IOGT NTO

MIDTTUN, Nijole

Lithuanian Tobacco and Alcohol Control Coalition

GALLOWAY, David

Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow

MURRAY, Frank

Royal College of Physicians of Ireland

IZUEL, Itziar

SAF Group

SCHNEIDER, Helene

School of Public Health, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa

CARLIN, Eric

Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP)

 

UK & European Birth Mother Network - FASD

BAULD, Linda

UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies (UKCTAS)

CAPEWELL, Simon

UK Faculty of Public Health

SHEPARD, Jonathan

Violence Prevention Group, Cardiff Partnership

MUSAH, Labram H.

Vision for Alternative Development (VALD)

METELSKI, Catherine

Vivre avec le SAF

[1] World Health Assembly, Framework of Engagement with Non-State Actors, final text: http://apps.who.int/gb/ebwha/pdf_files/WHA69/A69_R10-en.pdf?ua=1

[2] Conflict of Interest Coalition – Statement of Concern: http://info.babymilkaction.org/sites/info.babymilkaction.org/files/COIC%20161.16.4.12_0.pdf

Photo taken from WHO/L. Cipriani