Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Wealth before health

Scientists said British American Tobacco has teamed up with companies in other industries such as oil to influence European Union policies in favor of business interests at the expense of public health. Researchers writing in the Public Library of Science (PLoS) Medicine journal said they had evidence that BAT, the world's second-largest cigarette maker, had since 1995 led a network of companies from the chemical, oil and food sectors to shape the EU's impact assessment system which analyses policy implications.They found BAT created a policy network of several large companies involved in marketing products that can damage public health or the environment, to promote a lobbying campaign to alter EU policymaking rules.

"BAT and its corporate allies have fundamentally altered the way in which all EU policy is made," Katherine Smith of Britain's Bath University wrote in the study."This increases the likelihood that the EU will produce policies that advance the interests of major corporations, including those that produce products damaging to health, rather than in the interests of its citizens."

EU officials were often unaware of the magnitude of BAT's influence because the corporate campaign used third parties such as think tanks and consultants.

That the capitalist system can make profits out of killing people has always been an obscenity — that they can do so perfectly legally tells you all you need to know about where power really lies in the modern world and what the priorities are of those who wield it.Capitalism is a system with no real regard for the health of the mass of the population.

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