Addressing NCDs: Challenges From Industry Market Promotion and Interferences

Int J Health Policy Manag. 2019 May 1;8(5):256-260. doi: 10.15171/ijhpm.2019.02.


Addressing the determinants of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is challenged by aggressive market promotion by tobacco, alcohol and unhealthy food industries in emerging countries with fast economic development; and interference by these industries in government policies aimed at containing consumption of unhealthy products. This editorial reviews market promotion and industry interference and classifies them into four groups of tactics: (a) interfering with the legislative process; (b) using front groups to act on their behalf; (c) questioning the evidence of tobacco harm and the effectiveness of harm-reduction interventions; and (d) appearing responsible in the eyes of the public, journalists and policy-makers. Despite active implementation of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the tobacco, alcohol and unhealthy food industries use similar tactics to aggressively interfere in policies, with the tobacco industry being the most aggressive. Policy interference by industries are effective in the context of poor governance, rampant corruption, conflict of interest among political and government actors, and regulatory capture in all levels of countries from low- to high-income. In addressing these interferences, government requires the practice of good governance, effective mechanisms to counteract conflict of interests among political and policy actors, and prevention of regulatory capture. The World Health Organization (WHO) Framework of Engagement with non-State Actors can be applied to the country context when engaging private entities in the prevention and control of NCDs.

Keywords: Best Buy NCD Interventions; Industry Interference; NCD Risk Factors; Non-Communicable Diseases; Regulatory Capture.

Publication types

  • Editorial

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Alcoholic Beverages / adverse effects
  • Food Industry*
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Marketing*
  • Noncommunicable Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Tobacco Industry*