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« Proof that you can have serious fun in Manchester | Main | EC cries foul as citizens have their say »

Big Pharma shows its true colours

Further to my previous post, I thought I should highlight the fascinating thoughts of our friends in the pharmaceutical industry.

I have added my own comments in italics.

According to the EC's Report on the Public Consultation on the possible Revision of the Tobacco Products Directive:

  • The pharmaceutical industry argued in favour of improving consumer information about smoking, especially smoking cessation services. They cited evidence suggesting that advertising quit lines and cessation services on tobacco packaging results in increased usage of these services in the short and medium term.

Of course they did. Big Pharma wants you (the taxpayer) to pay for more smoking cessation services in the expectation that they will sell more of their products. I imagine they also want the taxpayer to pay to promote these services.

  • Representatives also argued for mandatory pictorial warnings that rotated regularly to maintain effectiveness.

Graphic health warnings contribute to what David Hockney calls the "uglification of England". Some of the diseases featured on packets may be a result of smoking but they are also extremely rare. No matter. Big Pharma wants to make these images compulsory throughout Europe in the hope that the consumer will be so shocked they will buy a Big Pharma product to help them quit this horrible habit.

  • The pharmaceutical industry expressed support for the replacement of the TNCO [Tar, Nicotine and Carbon monoxide] information on packaging, claiming that such information gives the impression that certain tobacco products are healthier than others.

I don't know anyone who talks about one product being 'healthier' than another (although an argument could be made for snus and other smokeless products), but the dose is the poison and the more information the better, surely? Why should we be denied some pretty fundamental information? Let the consumer be the judge, not Big Pharma.

  • The pharmaceutical industry pushed for regulation of ingredients through a positive common list of tobacco ingredients ... The goal with this list should be consistent with the goals of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control: reducing or preventing tobacco dependence.

Ah, the goals of Big Pharma are consistent with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Says it all, really.

  • The pharmaceutical industry pushed for a ban on all distribution channels [internet sales, vending machines and display], in order to limit access to tobacco products inside the EU.

Banning vending machines and forcing tobacco under the counter is about as illiberal as it gets, short of banning the product completely. Why would Big Pharma want to do that? Oh yes, they want smokers to quit and they want you to buy their product in the process ...

  • Finally, they advocated the increased usage of tobacco education programmes, as limiting access is only half of the current approach to reduce tobacco use.

So, having "limited access" to tobacco, the pharmaceutical industry wants more "tobacco education programmes". I don't about you, but that sounds more like Big Brother to me. And, once again, who's going to pay? Perhaps Big P should put its money where its mouth is.

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Reader Comments (5)

Our children have been programmed enough. I went to my grandson's birthday party last Saturday (he'll be 3 on Thursday). He saw me light up and said 'don't smoke'. He has learned this from his older sisters who have been programmed at school.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011 at 13:14 | Unregistered Commenterchas

Once they get everyone hooked on their products the 'free' supplies will end and these will end up being taxed as much, if not more, than tobacco products currently are!

Big Pharma are currently in a win win situation. So long as the plan works they are in the money whilst everyone else's pockets are considerably lighter!

Wonder if government learnt its corrupt ways from Big Pharma?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011 at 13:47 | Unregistered CommenterLyn

"Perhaps Big P should put its money where its mouth is."

They did.


WHO Europe evidence based recommendations on the treatment of tobacco dependence - 2002

"The following recommendations on the treatment of tobacco dependence have been written as an initiative of the World Health Organization European Partnership Project to Reduce Tobacco Dependence.

This was a three year project, funded largely by three pharmaceutical companies that manufacture treatment products for tobacco dependence, but managed by WHO Europe and a steering group which included government representatives and many public sector organisations."

"They were commissioned by the World Health Organization and have drawn on the experience of a number of European countries, including the four original target countries of the partnership project: France, Germany, Poland, and the UK.

They were discussed in two European WHO meetings on evidence based treatment, in London in November 1999 and in Barcelona in October 2000, and revised in the light of feedback following those meetings."

Tuesday, August 2, 2011 at 15:17 | Unregistered CommenterRose2

The whole healthscare industry is a scam but it shows how little understanding the academic mafia have of human nature. The more persisten the hectoring of smokers, the more smokers will be determined not to quit.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011 at 15:22 | Unregistered CommenterIan R Thorpe

'including the four original target countries of the partnership project: France, Germany, Poland, and the UK'.

Ah! dear old Blighty, showing how good she can be, and she's shown how tough she can be on her own people with a nasty, vicious smoking ban, the toughest in Europe and the rest of the world.

Nothing like a few good brownie points - eh?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011 at 15:37 | Unregistered CommenterJJ

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