Strong warning by WHO's Director-General

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Sunday, 16 June, 2013

Dr Margaret Chan, WHO's Direcor-General, highlighted two worrying trends is her opening speach to the 8th Global Conference on Health Promotion, held in Helsinki, Finland, 10 June 2013. She stated:

"I am deeply concerned by two recent trends.

The first relates to trade agreements. Governments introducing measures to protect the health of their citizens are being taken to court, and challenged in litigation. This is dangerous.

The second is efforts by industry to shape the public health policies and strategies that affect their products. When industry is involved in policy-making, rest assured that the most effective control measures will be downplayed or left out entirely. This, too, is well documented, and dangerous.

In the view of WHO, the formulation of health policies must be protected from distortion by commercial or vested interests."

For Australia an example of the former is tobacco companies challenging Australian governments about plain packaging for cigarettes.

Her speach is available on the WHO website.

Posted by Rick Speare

Margaret Chan, Director-General WHO, 2011 (from Wikimedia Commons)