A new study published in the Public Health Nutrition Journal, uncovered that The American Academy of Pediatrics, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the Institute for Excellence in Pediatrics, the Obesity Society, and the American Academy of Family Physicians are just a few of the prominent medical organisations with whom Coco-Cola has previously unknown affiliations. It builds on a report from 2020 that revealed the business influenced the International Congress on Physical Exercise and Public Health, a global initiative to promote physical activity.

The findings, based on documents obtained through 22 Freedom of Information requests filed by the United States Right to Know organisation, suggest that Coca-Cola’s influence could suppress research and viewpoints critical of the company and its range of unhealthy products. Coca-Cola also controls the wider narrative that physical inactivity is the primary cause of obesity, and their positioning strategy is focused on maintaining the company’s image as science-friendly.

According to the study, Coca-Cola provided three forms of assistance: supporting conference organisers, non-profit groups, and conference speakers. These contributions provided the organisation with benefits such as topic suggestions, speaker suggestions, marketing opportunities, and lunchtime seating with conference VIPs. It was further discovered some of the financing comes from third-party groups, thus researchers may be unaware they are supported by Coca-Cola.

The investigation focused on 239 public and private gatherings. Coca-Cola funded 158 events, including 98 conferences, 21 symposia, 10 lectures, 14 private meetings, one workshop, three webinars, three seminars, three forums, and three panels, either directly or indirectly.

Coca-Cola directly supported 28 of the 158 events that were partially funded by the company. Meanwhile, 70 were supported by third parties who received Coca-Cola funds, and the remaining 60 were funded by the firm.

The emails revealed that Coca-Cola would occasionally push researchers who were friendly to its interests to also speak to the media, as well as promote researchers, programmes, and events that emphasised a lack of physical exercise as a key cause of obesity rather than sugary beverages.

While this study focused on Coca Cola, it raises concerns about the pandemic and begs the following questions to be answered by elected officials.

  • 1 Which corporations in industries such as pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, technology and investment firms would be directly influencing and funding programs which further their interests during and beyond the pandemic?
  • 2 Why are conflict of interests not being disclosed and instead crossing ethical lines?
  • 3 What ties do these corporations have with public health influencers, bureaucrats, medical doctors, researchers, academics and parliamentarians?
  • 4 What is their influence on the media, WHO, WTO, WIPO, BIS and other organisations?

The Coca-Cola study confirms the need for an urgent tribunal to investigate and expose the financial interests and any conflict-of-interest of parliamentarians, and other actors who have failed to disclose any past or present connections with corporations who are influencing health policy in Australia and the rest of the world.

Source – https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/public-health-nutrition/article/big-food-and-drink-sponsorship-of-conferences-and-speakers-a-case-study-of-one-multinational-companys-influence-over-knowledge-dissemination-and-professional-engagement/8CDF0FB72D25E36033C459777F336B4F