Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Should Companies With Unhealthy Products Be Regulated To Protect Health?

Date:
October 4, 2008
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
Should businesses that sell products which are responsible for a huge numbers of deaths, illness and injury, such as tobacco and junk food, be held accountable and made to improve public health? Two experts debate the issue.

Should businesses that sell products which are responsible for a huge numbers of deaths, illness and injury, such as tobacco and junk food, be held accountable and made to improve public health? Two experts debate the issue in the British Medical Journal.

Related Articles


Stephen Sugarman a Professor of Law from Berkeley University in California, believes that businesses will only act if their profits are threatened, so current voluntary agreements are insufficient. Instead, he suggests letting governments tell businesses what outcomes they want from them and leaving them to work out how best to achieve regulatory targets.

This new approach, performance based regulation, would focus directly on outcomes. For example, junk food sellers would have to make sure there were fewer obese schoolchildren, car manufacturers would have to reduce the number of fatal road crashes, and tobacco companies would be compelled to reducing smoking prevalence.

If companies do not achieve their goals they would face substantial charges. Given this scenario, it is probable that companies would become very creative in devising new inventions to tackle these problems, writes Sugarman.

He argues that while public health leaders should accept business as an ally they should also wake up to the fact that voluntary cooperation will never achieve enough. He says: "Performance based regulation occupies the middle ground—a third way. Let society set legally enforceable goals and then let enterprises loose to accomplish them."

But Stig Pramming, Executive Director at the Oxford Health Alliance, argues that there is no guarantee that regulation will bring about behavioural change. Selling healthier snack food will not guarantee a fall in obesity levels and increasing bike lanes will not definitely change traffic patterns.

He maintains that businesses have changed—they may not be angels but they are increasingly transparent and cannot afford to neglect their corporate social responsibility, he adds.

While it would be foolish to believe that businesses don't put their profits first, he believes that it is down to activists to be organised and persuasive in getting involved with companies.

Using the example of his own organisation, the Oxford Health Alliance, which engages business, health professionals, policy makers and other stakeholders as equal partners in finding solutions to public health problems, he says that many major companies now see the business sense of promoting healthy choices and behaviours.

He points to examples such as Sainsbury's, which has invested millions of pounds in the development of a childhood obesity programme called MEND (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition … Do it); and PepsiCo which has merged with Quaker Oats and bought the fruit juice company Tropicana to move away from sugary drinks to healthier alternatives.

Pramming concludes: "Cooperation is an urgent priority, and we must act to ensure that business is part of the solution. Regulation is no substitute for collaboration."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Should Companies With Unhealthy Products Be Regulated To Protect Health?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 October 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081002204430.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2008, October 4). Should Companies With Unhealthy Products Be Regulated To Protect Health?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081002204430.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Should Companies With Unhealthy Products Be Regulated To Protect Health?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081002204430.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins