Sunday 10 January 2010

Where are ASH's accounts?

Strange goings on at the Charity Commission, who have just published ASH (England)'s financial accounts. Or so it seems at first glance. In fact, they've published ASH Wales' accounts, stamped ASH (England)'s charity number on them and filed them under 'Action on Smoking and Health: Charity number 262667).' 

This looks to be a cock-up by the Commission, rather than funny business on the part of the anti-tobacco industry. More puzzling are the ASH Wales accounts themselves, which are missing pages 9 to 14. As it says on page 8: "The notes on 9 to 14 form an integral part of these financial statements." They certainly do. They show where the money came from. What's happened to them?

Another cock-up, perhaps. I've contacted the Commission about this and should have some news in the near future. In the meantime, how much money ASH and ASH Wales received from the makers of Nicorette and Chantix last year remains a mystery. Our only clue is a 'key achievement' listed in ASH Wales' accounts:

2. Successful funding bid to the Pfizer Foundation for the delivery of youth worker training.

ASH Wales' links with Big Pharma are no secret. They acknowledged the "financial and/or kind support of" Pfizer, Novartis, McNeil and GlaxoSmithKline in their annual report. The question is whether their English big sister is taking the filthy lucre. We should have the answer any day now.

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