|When public health and private interests cross paths
Posted: 25 Apr 2018 04:48 PM
|A little over a week ago, the day Parliament passed the Bill on transgender rights, another private member Bill was to come up. The Prevention and Management of Conflict of Interest Bill (2015), introduced in the Rajya Sabha by Dr EM Sudarsana Natchiappan.
However, it was not taken up for procedural reasons. Public health experts say there could not be a more opportune time for a law given the many smoking guns in health Wholesale Cigarettes For Sale, food or medicine.
The Bill defines conflicts of interest between public duty and private interest where a public official decision, for instance, is influenced by private interests Cigarettes Online Usa Only. And this leads to possible benefits for a person or organisation. The controversy took centre-stage recently when the size of pictorial warnings on cigarette packets was to be increased. is not just Big Tobacco anymore, cautioned World Health Organisation Chief Margaret Chan in her Helsinki address (2013). health must also contend with Big Food, Big Soda, and Big Alcohol. All of these industries fear regulation, and protect themselves by using the same tactics, says Chan.
has documented these tactics well, she says, referring to front groups, lobbies and industry-funded research that confuse evidence and the public. Lobbies do not always play an obvious hand, and the shadow of conflicting interests looms large from baby food to vaccines and medicines to intellectual property rights (or IPR, impacting medicine affordability). Even the WHO has faced flak on its handling of swine flu and possible links to drug companies that make the flu medicines.
In fact, in the ongoing global discussions on engaging non-state actors, India has recommended to the WHO that it knows the parties it deals with to manage conflict of interest, says KM Gopakumar with Third World Network.
Smoke signals concerns were articulated recently on IPR by theSwadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM), the economic wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Health, like other ministries, does not ask for disclosures and committee members also do not voluntarily disclose their links with business Wholesale Newport Cigarettes Online, he observes.
Public health researcher Neethi V Rao nails the conflict in policy Wholesale Usa Cigarettes. Government has anti-tobacco laws, in compliance with India global agreements, but this co-exists with the Tobacco Board Act that supports and promotes the crop.
Health being a State subject, there is no comprehensive planning around it. Independent researcher, Radha Holla says the proposed law will help expose obvious conflict situations Cigarettes For Sale Wholesale.
An oft-heard argument is that the private sector does more research than the Government and this paves the way for transfers between public and private spheres, says Holla.
Government officials need to have a cooling period before they join a private organisation, she adds, listing out instances where former health bureaucrats get involved with drug companies.
Giving an outside perspective,Mathuram Santosham, Senior Advisor at International Vaccine Access Centre and Professorat Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, says the industry is allowed to manufacture products and make presentations; they do not have a say introducing a vaccine into a public health programme. That decision is taken by a committee of public health experts with no links to the industry.
As the Conflict Bill is expected to come up again, Rao stresses its importance: are choosing to be blind, so I am glad it (conflict of interest) is being flagged as an issue.
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