IHP news 512: NCDs

By on March 8, 2019

Reuters – Exclusive: Philip Morris paid for India manufacturing despite ban on foreign investment – documents


Philip Morris International Inc has for years paid manufacturing costs to its Indian partner to make its Marlboro cigarettes, circumventing a nine-year-old government ban on foreign direct investment in the industry, internal company documents reviewed by Reuters showed….”

The Indian government in 2010 prohibited foreign direct investment (FDI) in cigarette manufacturing, saying the measure would enhance its efforts to curb smoking. Restricting foreign investment leaves cigarette manufacturing largely in the hands of domestic players, and is supposed to prevent any foreign-funded expansion. … …  Philip Morris, though, stayed in India and used another route, according to company documents dated between May 2009 and January 2018. A year before the FDI ban, it struck an exclusive deal with India’s Godfrey Phillips to locally manufacture the world-famous Marlboro cigarettes. Ever since then, Godfrey has publicly acted as a contract manufacturer of Marlboro cigarettes in India, while Philip Morris’s majority-owned local unit acts as a wholesale trading company and promotes the brand. But dozens of internal company documents – including invoice bills, legal agreements, e-mails and accounting statements – show Philip Morris has for years indirectly paid costs related to Marlboro cigarette manufacturing in India….”

Lancet Letters on Global Health and Cancer

A number of people reacted to Horton’s “cri de coeur” on the inexplicable indifference to cancer in low-income and lower middle-income countries (LLMICs) from a while ago.  Do read herehere and  here. Some say the picture (& future) is not all that gloomy.

HRB Open Research – Time for complete transparency about conflicts of interest in public health nutrition research

M Hennessey, M McKee, P Rundall et al; https://hrbopenresearch.org/articles/2-1/v2

“We are a group of researchers and academics with decades of experience in the protection and promotion of public health. We are writing to raise our concerns about how conflicts of interest are reported in public health nutrition research. We highlight examples of why it is important to accurately declare such conflicts, as well as providing examples of situations in which conflicts of interest have been inadequately reported. We call on researchers, and others, to be transparent about conflicts of interest in research. Journal editors in particular have an important responsibility in fully understanding how conflicts of interest can impact on research findings and interpretations. They need to agree and adopt clear guidelines on conflicts of interest and ensure that authors abide by these to facilitate trust in the scientific process and the credibility of published articles.”

BMJ Feature – Questions over future of global diabetes group as founding members resign


While the numbers of people with diabetes worldwide soar, the organisation at the forefront of the global fight against the disease is tearing itself apart. Melanie Newman investigates

For almost 70 years, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) has led global efforts to combat diabetes. But its work has been so seriously undermined by internal conflict and the resignation of four founding members that its supporters are now questioning whether the organisation will survive.”

Excerpt: “… An umbrella organisation of more than 200 diabetes associations from some 160 countries, IDF’s activities have ranged from lobbying the United Nations to initiatives such as Life for a Child, which helps children with diabetes in lower income countries to access treatment. Raising sufficient funds has been a challenge, and the institution has been dogged by accusations of cosiness with the drug industry. Now, after conversations with dozens of people from inside and outside the IDF and having seen some of the relevant documents, The BMJ can reveal widespread disquiet about the organisation’s governance under current president, Nam Cho (from Korea), and his predecessor, Shaukat Sadikot (from India). Both men have made or tried to make highly contentious changes to IDF activities, programmes, and staffing since 2016. In the past few years, national diabetes associations from the UK, France, Netherlands, and Denmark have all cut ties with the federation. The German association is monitoring the situation “very closely.” Mostly recently, the leadership has attempted to remove elected board members—including Cho’s planned successor, Andrew Boulton, professor of medicine at Manchester University—and to take control of Life for a Child away from its longstanding operator and funder, Diabetes New South Wales. Other controversial changes include the federation’s withdrawal from the Non-Communicable Diseases Alliance, a high level lobbying organisation founded by Ann Keeling, a former IDF chief executive….”

UN News – Recreational cannabis poses ‘significant’ health challenges to youth: drugs control body


The UN-backed International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) warned on Tuesday that poorly regulated medical cannabis programmes could step-up the “recreational” use of the drug while diminishing public concern over its harmful effects. “

“Legalization of cannabis for recreational purposes, as seen in a small number of countries, represents not only a challenge to the universal implementation of the treaties and the signatories to the treaties, but also a significant challenge to health and wellbeing, particularly among young people”, INCB President Viroj Sumyai said, following the publication of the body’s latest Annual Report. The report, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the independent drugs control board, details the risks and benefits of the medical and scientific use of cannabis and cannabinoids. …”

You find the report here.

Stat News – FDA approves esketamine, the first major depression treatment to reach U.S. market in decades


The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday approved esketamine, the first major depression treatment to hit the U.S. market in decades and a new option for patients who haven’t responded to existing therapies. Esketamine — developed by Johnson & Johnson and delivered as a nasal spray — was tested in combination with oral antidepressants in patients with what’s known as treatment-resistant depression. The drug is related to ketamine, a common anesthetic that’s sometimes misused recreationally. Many experts have hailed esketamine as a critical option for patients in dire need of new treatments — particularly because it might work faster than existing antidepressants….”

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