WHO Statement of Concern
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Appeal to civil society: sign on

Concern over alcohol industry conflict of interest

An independent coalition of public health professionals, health scientists and NGO representatives has written a public letter that is addressed to the WHO Director General in response to the recent initiatives of the global alcohol producers. Individuals and organizations are invited to sign on to the statement.

On October 8, 2012, thirteen of world’s largest alcohol producers issued a set of commitments to reduce the harmful use of alcohol worldwide, ostensibly in support of the World Health Organization’s 2010 Global Strategy to Reduce the Harmful Use of Alcohol. An independent coalition of public health professionals, health scientists and NGO representatives has submitted a public Statement of Concern to the WHO Director General in response to the activities of the global alcohol producers. Based on their lack of support for effective alcohol policies, misinterpretation of the Global Strategy’s provisions, and their lobbying against effective public health measures, the coalition believes that the alcohol industry’s inappropriate commitments must be met with a united response from global health community.

Says Professor Thomas F. Babor who took the lead of the drafting committee: "We are now asking qualified professionals throughout the world to review the attached Statement of Concern, and indicate their endorsement by sending an email to the office of the Global Alcohol Policy Alliance (GAPA)."

The reservations about the commitments signed by the alcohol industry as expressed in the statement of concern can be summarized as follows:

1) The commitments are based on questionable assumptions, as stated in the signatories’ Preamble.
2) The actions proposed in the five commitments are weak, rarely evidence-based and are unlikely to reduce harmful alcohol use.
3) Prior initiatives advanced by the alcohol industry as contributions to the WHO Global Strategy have major limitations from a public health perspective.
4) The signatories are misrepresenting their roles with respect to the implementation of the WHO Global Strategy.


Read the statement here.

Sign up to the statement:  Those who want to sign up to this statement of concern are encouraged to do so by sending and e-mail to gapa@ias.org.uk giving the following details:

-Full name
-Professional title
-Institution affiliation

In providing these details you will be agreeing to have your name listed (but not your email address) on both the public letter to WHO and the GAPA website that will post the letter. 

Please note endorsement will be on an individual basis and will not imply endorsement by your organization. However, if you are a member of an organization that would be willing to formally endorse this Statement, please indicate this in your reply.