Saturday, November 07, 2015

Profits before health

Voluntary action on alcohol misuse by the alcohol industry has been branded a failure by an independent report which claims four-year ‘Responsibility Deal’ between government and drinks industry has harmed public health.

the Institute of Alcohol Studies, a non-industry-funded think-tank, found that, under the deal, drinks producers have shunned policies that would work but would also have hurt their sales and instead promoted approaches that do not work, and exaggerated how much difference the policies they have adopted have actually made. (our emphasis)

Katherine Brown, IAS director and one of the report’s authors, said that both hospital admissions and deaths due to alcohol had continued to rise, in spite of overall alcohol consumption falling slightly. “Perhaps most worryingly, the report indicates that the deal may have delayed evidence-based actions that would save lives and cut crime, such as minimum pricing. To call this a ‘public health responsibility deal’ for alcohol is laughable, as almost every independent public health body has boycotted it.” The Responsibility Deal’s failure meant it would be “absurd for this government to continue with such a farcical initiative. With alcohol costing our society £21bn each year, we can’t afford to keep prioritising the needs of big business over public health,” she added.

Department of Health-funded research by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that firms involved in the RD “are not fully meeting their commitments” on labelling, and that “labelling information frequently falls short of best practice, with fonts and logos smaller than would be accepted on other products with health effects”.

SOYMB blog is not at all surprised that an industry-funded body, the Portland Goup, criticised the report. After all, he who pays the piper calls the tune.

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