Thursday 18 April 2013

Messages from their sponsors

Further to yesterday's post about the WHO's ties with the pharmaceutical industry, I see that the UK National Smoking Cessation Conference is set to be held in London in June.

Like much of the tobacco control industry, this conference has always been heavily sponsored by the makers of 'nicotine replacement [sic] therapy [sic]'. This year, however, the level of corporate involvement hits new heights, with each of the pharmaceutical funders being given time in the schedule to make their case and flog their wares.

The first morning of the conference sees a good deal of discussion about harm reduction, including e-cigarettes, so McNeil Products UK will be pleased to be able to extol the virtues of its Nicorette  range after lunch.

Later in the day there is a debate about whether tobacco control freaks "should be positive about the development of e-cigarettes, even if they're developed by subsidiaries of tobacco companies". Judging by her ill-informed comments in Brussels recently, CRUK's Jean King will be opposing the motion. Delegates from GlaxoSmithKline, the makers of NiQuitin, will doubtless be cheering her on before they take the stage for their own 45 minute presentation to round off the day's proceedings.

Day two kicks off with a symposium by Pfizer, the manufacturer of the highly controversial stop-smoking drug Chantix. Perhaps they'll be talking about how they recently paid out $273 million in compensation to victims and families affected by the spate of suicides and other injuries that have been linked to this 'medicine'. Or perhaps they won't.

To be clear, I'm not arguing that industry shouldn't be sponsoring events like this. On the contrary, I think they should be entirely privately funded. But I do find it ironic that the public health lobby maintains its obsessive McCarthyism, paranoia and smear campaigns when it comes to the tobacco, alcohol, food and e-cigarette industries while quite literally giving Big Pharma a platform at its own events.


Xopher said...

So what you're saying is this is simply a Trade Show for the NRT Industry.
Do they have stalls, special offers and awards for Tobacco Control's best Sales Rep of the Year?

Christopher Snowdon said...


In a word: yes.