250315 Dealing with corporate interference in health policy through governance: The Uruguayan Declaration on Trade and Health

Monday, October 31, 2011: 10:30 AM

Hadii Mamudu, PhD, MPA , Department of Health Services Administration, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN
Sreenivas P. Veeranki, MD, MPH , Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN
Tobacco use is a global health problem, currently accounting for 5.4 million deaths annually and expected to reach one billion total deaths by the end of 21st century. In 2003, 192 countries adopted the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) to deal with this problem. The issue of health vs. trade was raised during negotiations, but not resolved for political reasons. While this issue progressively gained prominence in global health governance and inter-state relations, it came to a head when Philip Morris International (PMI) sued Uruguayan government for trademark violation because Uruguay's graphic health warnings infringed on WTO treaty. In November 2010, Uruguay placed the issue on agenda of FCTC Conference of the Parties (COP-4) meeting in Punta del Este. The delegates contemplated if Uruguay loses, who is next? They felt their sovereignty was under attack by wealthy tobacco companies, resulting in a declaration that made PMI to withdraw the lawsuit. However, the declaration incorporated a clause, public health measures should be “consistent with TRIPS Agreement.” This study triangulates participant observation of COP-4 meeting with participant interviews and archival documents to provide insight into the Uruguayan Declaration. While the declaration was a political victory and identified venues for weak Parties to fight tobacco companies, it also highlights that health-trade conflict has not been resolved. Hence, it is necessary that the public health community advocates for development of FCTC guidelines on health-trade issue, so that Parties can develop innovative tobacco control policies to improve health without fear of costly lawsuits.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control’s Conference of the Parties (COP) process Describe the trade-health conflict during the fourth COP Identify the COP as a venue of where states/Parties can fight tobacco industry interference in health policy Discuss why the Uruguayan Declaration did not settle the issue of trade-health conflict in international relations

Keywords: International Public Health, Tobacco Industry

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I attended the COP-4 and interviewed the Parties and the participants and collected the data. Also, my research work is focused on understanding the trade versus health in great detail.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.