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Are industry-funded charities promoting “advocacy-led studies” or “evidence-based science”?: a case study of the International Life Sciences Institute



Background: Industry sponsorship of public health research has received increasing scrutiny, and, as a result, many multinational corporations (MNCs), such as The Coca-Cola Company and Mars Inc., have committed to transparency with regard to what they fund, and the findings of funded research. However, these MNCs often fund charities, both national and international, which then support research and promote industry-favourable policy positions to leaders. We explore whether one industry funded charity, the International Life Sciences Institute ('ILSI'), is the scientifically objective, non-lobby, internationally-credible body that it suggests it is, so as to aid the international health and scientific communities to judge ILSI's outputs. Methods: Between June 2015 and February 2018, U.S. Right to Know), a non-profit consumer and public health group, submitted five U.S. state Freedom of Information requests (FOIs) to explore ILSI engagement with industry, policy makers, and/or researchers, which garnered a total of 17,163 pages for analysis. Two researchers explored these documents to assess the activities and conduct of ILSI against its purported objectives. Results: Within the received documents we identified instances of ILSI seeking to influence research, conferences, public messages, and policy, including instances of punishments for ILSI bodies failing to promote industry-favourable messaging. We identified ILSI promoting its agenda with national and international bodies to influence policy and law, causing the World Health Organization to withdraw from official relations with what it now considers a private sector entity. Conclusions: ILSI seeks to influence individuals, positions, and policy, both nationally and internationally, and its corporate members deploy it as a tool to promote their interests globally. Our analysis of ILSI serves as a caution to those involved in global health governance to be wary of putatively independent research groups, and to practice due diligence before relying upon their funded studies and/or engaging in relationship with such groups.
R E S E A R C H Open Access
Are industry-funded charities promoting
advocacy-led studiesor evidence-based
science?: a case study of the International
Life Sciences Institute
Sarah Steele
, Gary Ruskin
, Lejla Sarcevic
, Martin McKee
and David Stuckler
Background: Industry sponsorship of public health research has received increasing scrutiny, and, as a result, many
multinational corporations (MNCs), such as The Coca-Cola Company and Mars Inc., have committed to transparency
with regard to what they fund, and the findings of funded research. However, these MNCs often fund charities,
both national and international, which then support research and promote industry-favourable policy positions to
leaders. We explore whether one industry funded charity, the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI), is the
scientifically objective, non-lobby, internationally-credible body that it suggests it is, so as to aid the international
health and scientific communities to judge ILSIs outputs.
Methods: Between June 2015 and February 2018, U.S. Right to Know), a non-profit consumer and public health
group, submitted five U.S. state Freedom of Information requests (FOIs) to explore ILSI engagement with industry,
policy makers, and/or researchers, which garnered a total of 17,163 pages for analysis. Two researchers explored
these documents to assess the activities and conduct of ILSI against its purported objectives.
Results: Within the received documents we identified instances of ILSI seeking to influence research, conferences,
public messages, and policy, including instances of punishments for ILSI bodies failing to promote industry-favourable
messaging. We identified ILSI promoting its agenda with national and international bodies to influence policy and law,
causing the World Health Organization to withdraw from official relations with what it now considers a private sector
Conclusions: ILSI seeks to influence individuals, positions, and policy, both nationally and internationally, and its
corporate members deploy it as a tool to promote their interests globally. Our analysis of ILSI serves as a caution to
those involved in global health governance to be wary of putatively independent research groups, and to practice due
diligence before relying upon their funded studies and/or engaging in relationship with such groups.
Keywords: International Life Sciences Institute, Industry funding, Lobbying, Advocacy, Conflicts of interest
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( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
* Correspondence:
Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge,
Cambridge, UK
Jesus College, Jesus Lane, Cambridge CB58BL, UK
Full list of author information is available at the end of the article
Steele et al. Globalization and Health (2019) 15:36
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Against a backdrop of growing consumer mistrust and
calls for greater openness, an emerging group of multi-
national corporations (MNCs) in the food, beverage
and supplement industries published lists of their part-
nerships and sponsored research as part of a commit-
ment to greater transparency [1]. These lists detail
extensive collaborations and research funding, including
the payment of contributions and membership dues to
professional, public, and charitable organisations dedi-
cated to promoting science and public health. The
Coca-Cola Company (Coke), for example, makes mem-
bership payments to: the American Society for Nutrition;
the Calorie Control Council; various constituents of the
International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI); the Inter-
national Food Information Council (IFIC); the Inter-
national Stevia Council; the Food Science Strategic
Policy Alliance; the National Academies of Sciences, En-
gineering & Medicine; the Food Forum; the Juice Prod-
ucts Association; Purdue University; the IOM Food
Forum; the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation;
the Industry Nutrition Advisory Panel of the American
Heart Association; the Preventative Cardiovascular
Nurses Association; the Center for Food Integrity; the
International Scientific Association of Probiotics and
Prebiotics; and the Friends of Winship [2]. While some
of these organisations have mechanisms to maintain
their independence, some have been accused of acting as
front groups, pushing industry positions covertly to
the public, policy makers and professionals.
For instance, Mars Incs Vice President of Public Af-
fairs, Matthias Berninger, declared that his MNC (which
sells highly processed foods and beverages, amongst
other products, worldwide), would withdraw from bod-
ies that promote industry positions by stealth, including
ILSI, due to its involvement in advocacy-led studies
[1]. This corporate statement supported a long-held be-
lief by many industry watchdog organisations that ILSI
serves as one of many pseudo-scientific front-groups,
pushing industry-favourable positions to policy makers
and international bodies under the guise of neutral sci-
entific endeavour [3,4]. Other organisations that have
been criticised for working internationally to promote
industry favourable positions by stealth include the Glo-
bal Energy Balance Network (GEBN), which has since
closed, and IFIC, a science communications charity,
both of which worked with ILSI [5].
ILSI is comprised of 18 bodies, each of which cover
specific topics or geographical regions, promoting glo-
bal partnerships for a healthier world. These include:
the ILSI Research Foundation, ILSI Health and Environ-
mental Institute, ILSI Europe, ILSI North America, ILSI
Mexico, ILSI Mesoamerica, ILSI North Andean, ILSI
Brazil, ILSI Argentina, ILSI South Andean, ILSI Middle
East, ILSI South Africa, ILSI Southeast Asia Region, ILSI
Taiwan, ILSI Korea, ILSI India, ILSI Focal Point in
China, and ILSI Japan [6]. Global in nature, ILSI clearly
states that it is transparent, and that none of its bodies
lobby, conduct lobbying activities, or make policy rec-
ommendations[7]. Indeed, ILSI has long maintained its
independence and scientific rigor, asserting that, through
the exchange of ideas and information between scien-
tists, academics, government, industry, and the private
sector, [8] it acts as an objective body that provides sci-
ence that improves human health and well-being and
safeguards the environment[9]. Suzanne Harris, then
executive director of ILSI, stated that ILSI has no hid-
den agendaand that its work is balanced and directed
toward the public good rather than the commercial in-
terests of its corporate members, and is not a lobby
group, but is a public charity exempt from taxation
under US Internal Revenue Code § 501(c)(3) and, as
such, has refrained from lobbying [8]. Harris highlighted
ILSIs dedication to the application of evidence-based
science,[8] a position it maintains in the face of Mars
Incs withdrawal.
With ILSI funded research appearing in many medical,
public health and nutrition, and general science journals,
we believe it is critical for our colleagues to be able to rigor-
ously assess its outputs and funded research, and whether
it is engaged in lobbying and advocacy internationally.
While industry collaborations with academic partners can
be fruitful and produce valuable research, industry funding
through covert mechanisms using third parties that obscure
the funding sources can make appraisal of conflicts of inter-
est (COIs) difficult and can thwart effective evidence-based
public health decision-making [10,11]. We therefore use
ILSI as a case studyalensthrough which one can ex-
plore the larger global issue of putatively independent, but
heavily industry funded or influenced bodies that can affect
research and national and global level policy deliberations.
We draw on documents obtained using Freedom-of-Infor-
mation requests (FOIs) to ask if ILSI acts, as it states, to
promote the public interest and health, or if it appears to
be trying to influence global health policies covertly on be-
half of industry. Specifically, we question: Is ILSI engaged
in advocacy for industry positions, and lobbying national
and international bodies?
Between June 2015 and October 2017, U.S. Right to
Know (USRTK), a non-profit consumer and public
health group, submitted five U.S. state Freedom of Infor-
mation requests (hereafter, FOIs) to reveal the scale and
nature of engagement with industry [12]. These FOIs
were sent to individuals who were selected because they
had openly received funding from MNCs in the food
and beverage industries and because they were in
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positions or institutions covered by the relevant legisla-
tion. The requests sought emails and attached docu-
ments from these individuals, with the aim of exploring
their relationships with industry, and between industry
and public institutions like the Centre for Disease Con-
trol (CDC), charities like ILSI, policy makers, and other
collaborating scholars (including scientists and
Within the 17,163 pages returned by these requests,
USRTK identified extensive information on ILSI, and
thereby provided the batch to a researcher (SS) who in-
dependently read and explored the relationship ILSI has
to industry. Notably, two researchers (GR and SS) had
closely read all the documents to identify whether ILSI
is engaged in lobbying, advocacy, or promoting the pub-
lic good. Due to the way in which the documents were
deliveredimaged PDFs in multiple filesthe two re-
searchers undertook manual reading.
The first researcher (GR) close read the documents for
instances where ILSIs conduct and motivation were de-
tailed and then extracted relevant emails or attachments.
This manual reading was repeated independently by the
second researcher at a different institution (SS). The re-
searchers then compared and discussed the findings and
analysed the documents for instances where ILSI was
confronted with issues of transparency, objectivity,
lobbying opportunities, or engagement with inter-
national bodies, including the WHO. We did not seek to
create a statistical sample, but rather to qualitatively ex-
plore ILSIs conduct. Where there was disagreement
about the documents and/or an interpretation, a full
group meeting was convened, and the documents
Because of the imperfect nature of an FOI request, we
may not have received all documents, and as such we do
not claim the sample is comprehensive. We present the
FOIs in their own wordsto allow the reader to make
their own judgements. We have acted to reduce bias by
reporting all emails directly referenced in an online data-
base with weblinks, so that our interpretations are ac-
cessible to all readers, and to provide the full PDF
batches received for readers and other researchers to
consult. As is best practice in qualitative research, within
the emails we received, we sought actively to identify in-
stances that contradicted our findings, and have only re-
ported instances where were unable to do so.
We present text from the FOIs in the sections that fol-
low to explore firstly, whether ILSI is engaged in advo-
cacy, and secondly if it is acting as a lobby group. Our
view is to allow our medical and public health colleagues
to explore and approach ILSIs relationship with industry
appropriately in the future when deciding whether to
work with this body, receive its funding, and how to
read studies and materials it produces.
Is ILSI acting objectively or engaged in advocacy?
Notably, ILSI openly reports that it is industry funded
[13,14]. Suzanne Harris, however, attests that such
funding does not lead to direct industry influence, pre-
senting instead that ILSI is a world leader, acting to
conduct scientific inquiry relating to nutrition, food
safety, toxicology, risk assessment and the environment
using a tripartite operating model, referring to input
from industry, government and academia [8]. She sug-
gests that this model is not only intended for producing
broadly informed scientific output, but also at ensuring
that ILSIs work is balanced and directed toward the
public good …” [8]. Critically, then, we looked for in-
stances that indicated either that ILSI promotes the pub-
lic interest, or whether it sought to be selective in what
it presented and promoted in ways that might support
its industry members.
We found emails between Alex Malaspina, former se-
nior vice-president at Coke and founder of, and
long-time president of, ILSI, and Harris, amongst others,
which suggest that ILSI protects industry from being af-
fected by disadvantageous policy and laws. In response
to new US dietary guidelines released that were un-
favourable to industry, Malaspina writes:
Dear Friends, These guidelines are a real disaster!
They could eventually affect us significantly in many
ways; Soft drink taxations, modified school luncheon
programs ,a strong educational effort to educate
children and adults to significanty limit their sugar
intake,, curtail advertising of sugary foods and
beverages and eventually a great pressure from CDC
and other Agencies to force industry to start deducing
drastically the sugar we add to processed foods and
beverages, Also we have to expect that many nations
will follow the US guidelines. We have to consider how
to become ready to mount a strong defence. Warm
regards. Alex [Typographic errors his own] [15].
The inclusion of Harris among a large number of recipients
may suggest that ILSI is perceived as having a role in coun-
tering public health nutrition policies that are unfavourable
to producers of food and beverages with sugar added.
Other emails regarding ILSIs research on the artificial
sweetener saccharine likewise support this perception.
Malaspinas emails to Dr. James Emerson, a former Coke
employee, [16] who sat on the ILSI Saccharin Technical
Committee, [17] state:
Dear Jim Emerson: Please note the extra praise for you
from [former ILSI President] Sam Cohen. You and he
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were the architects to plan and execute the studies
showing saccharine is not a carcinogen and all
governments which had banned it reversed their
position. Quite an achievement. Congratulations to
both of you again [18].
The email questions whether ILSI is engaged objectively,
instead promoting industry positions to policy makers.
Critically, the FOI responses suggest that ILSI operates
strategically with other industry-funded entities. Thus,
Malaspina detailed the close relationship between ILSI
and IFIC, which is a science communication charity,
IFIC is kind of a sister entity to ILSI. ILSI generates
the scientific facts and IFIC communicates them to the
media and public [19].
In an email chain between Malaspina and Michael Er-
nest Knowles, former vice-president of Global Scientific
and Regulatory Affairs at Coca-Cola and former presi-
dent of ILSI who remained a trustee of ILSI through
2016 and of the ILSI Research Foundation through
2017, both ILSI and IFIC are discussed. Malaspina de-
tails how IFIC is coming through for our industryand
then proceeds to engage in a back-and-forth exchange
with Knowles over strategies to use external organiza-
tionsfor product defence [20]. Knowles also notes the
need for those in the sister entities to leverage positions
within scientific societies to promote relevant work:
we all belong to one or more of these and we should
have leadership roles in the key ones and push for
individual issues to be addressed by public conferences/
workshops in the manner of ILSI above [20].
Overall, the emails suggest that both ILSI and IFIC act to
counter unfavourable policies and positions, while promot-
ing industry-favourable science, including to the media.
Concerningly, the FOIs showed instances of sanctions
handed out by ILSI to its regional actors where they
failed promote industry-favourable messaging. Malaspina
about the mess ILSI Mexico is in because they
sponsored in September a sweeteners conference when
the subject of soft drinks taxation was discussed. ILSI
is now suspending ILSI Mexico, until they correct their
ways. A real mess. I have suggested to Suzie that to
have ILSI Mexico save face, ILSI Mexico should join
ILSI NA . All of what has been happening is very,
very sad for me, and I hope we have now reached
Bottom [SIC] and eventually we will recover as Coke
and ILSI are concerned [21].
This suggests that ILSIs constituent bodies face pressure
to promote agreed positions by corporate members.
Taken together, these FOI emails suggest Mars Inc.
was correct that ILSI engages in advocacy, and therefore
we are left asking, does ILSI take this further by en-
gaging in more substantive lobbying activity?
Is ILSI lobbying?
While lobbying is understood in different ways in differ-
ent jurisdictions, we understand it as where a group,
organization, association or person attempts to influence
governmental action (including executive, legislative, ju-
dicial and regulatory action) to achieve an outcome
more favourable to their agenda. While the European
Commission prefers the term interest representation
over lobbying, capturing a broader set of activities de-
signed to influence policy makers and decision-making
processes, [22] other jurisdictions, such as the U.S.A.
often employ a narrower concept focused on direct ac-
tivities. Thus, U.S. legislation regarding defines it as
lobbying contacts and efforts in support of such con-
tacts, including preparation and planning activities, re-
search and other background work that is intended, at
the time it is performed, for use in contacts, and coord-
ination with the lobbying activities of others, with
lobbying contact meaning any oral or written commu-
nication (including an electronic communication) to a
covered executive branch official or a covered legislative
branch official[23]. When understood narrowly, this in-
volves direct interaction to exert influence, including
personal meetings and persuasion, while wider concep-
tions also consider indirect activities such as getting
constituents to write letters, convening meetings and ex-
perts to exert influence, and creating a climate more
favourable to meeting an objective, as included in lobby-
ing. We sought to determine whether ILSI participates
in either or both forms of this activity.
The FOI emails suggest ILSI promotes its agenda with
national and international bodies to influence policy and
law. The emails evidence on-going meetings with not-
able persons, and continuing concern about ILSIs rela-
tionship with international bodies like the WHO,
discussing how these bodies can be used to promote
pro-industry positions. ILSIs network is wide ranging. In
emails between Malaspina and Barbara Bowman, then
director of the US CDCs Division for Heart Disease and
Stroke Prevention, he states:
Dear Barbara
You gave me some very good leads. I like the one
especially about having Mr. Bill Gates help. Our
Chairman knows him well. I will explore this idea
with Clyde [Tuggle, Coke senior vice president]. We
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would want WHO to start working with ILSI again,
with the GEBN and with the food industry in general
to resolve issues of food safety and nutrition and for
WHO to not only consider sugary foods as the only
cause of obesity but to consider also the life style
changes that have been occurring throughout the
Since WHO, as you stated has been helped by the
pharmaceutical industry to combat HIV/AIDS, why
not work closely with the food industry to combat
obesity. The Food industry is very willing to come to
the table.
Warmest personal regards. Alex
Not only do we see that Bowman herself maintains a re-
lationship with Malaspina and ILSI, but also is seen as a
useful advisor regarding how to get ILSI into the WHO
to push industry positions at the international level.
Emails between Malaspina and University of Washing-
ton Professor Adam Drewnowski support this role of
ILSI with the WHO. Drewnowski explains how to de-
velop ILSIs influence with the WHO to further industry
Hello Alex - you are absolutely right about the need to
start a dialogue with Margaret Chen [sic]. When she
came to the Pacific Health Summit in Seattle some
years ago, she said that she was ready to be "at the
table - but not in bed - with industry" (her own
phrase). Since then, her position has hardened
considerably. We should remind her of her own phrase
and get her to the table.
Now, strategically, we ought to start with some issue
where ILSI and WHO are in agreement. What would
that be? What are your thoughts?
With best regards Adam
Follow-up emails Malaspina directed to Dr. Junshi
Chen of ILSI China and Chinas Centre for Disease Con-
trol, expand on this point:
Dear Junshi: This is a great response by Adam on
my email on WHO. Since you know WHO so well I
thought you may have a suggestion as to how we
can best handle this situation? Who do you
recommend could be the person or organization to
visit with her and discuss the science.? Warmest
regards. Alex
What becomes clear from the emails and forwards is
that ILSI is seen as central to pushing pro-industry con-
tent to international organisations with a view to more
industry-supported approaches that uncouple sugary
foods and obesity.
The role of ILSI in defending industry from questions
about the health consequences of its products and ingre-
dients is seen in emails sent by Dr. James Hill, then dir-
ector of the Center for Human Nutrition at the
University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. In an
email chain discussing public criticisms of scientists, so-
cieties and policy-makers working with industry, Hill
states that:
Frankly, we need the food industry to step up to
provide more resources both to ILSI and GEBN. When
things like this happen, individual companies tend to
want to keep their head down. If they do this, our
opponents will win and we will all lose.
I do not think we can overestimate the importance of
dealing aggressively with this issue.
Jim [24]
This makes clear the proactive role that ILSI is viewed
as playing in addressing unfavourable actions, policies,
and decisions. Additionally, it demonstrates that ILSI
has academic affiliates who identify as being on the side
of the industry.
Sometimes ILSIs influence is even deeper, with indi-
viduals serving in ILSI posts while working for national
and international bodies. For example, Junshi Chen and
Wenhua Zhao served as Director and Deputy Director,
respectively, of ILSI Focal Point China at the same time
as working at the Chinese CDC [25]. Professor Alan
Boobis simultaneously served as chair of ILSIs Board of
Trustees while he chaired the UNs Joint FAO/WHO
Meeting on Pesticide Residues panel on glyphosate,
which was of great interest to ILSI major donors Mon-
santo and CropLife International [26]. The final meeting
report included no conflict of interest statements, even
though, as we demonstrate below, the WHO had, by the
time of meeting ended, official relations with ILSI. It is
clear that ILSI connected individuals continued to play a
role in the WHOs decision making, as well as holding a
strategic position in relation to influencing national ac-
tors, like the CDC.
However, the FOIs indicate that the on-going relation-
ships, both formal and informal, with international orga-
nisations including the WHO and Food and Agriculture
Organization of the United Nations (hereafter FAO), as
well as with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA),
are evolving and increasingly ILSI is being seen as a
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private actor. In 2017, ILSI was no longer recognized as
in special relations with the WHO, and its links to EFSA
were the subject of enquiry at European Parliament and
new guidelines on transparency [22]. Many of our FOIs
predate these changes, but reveal why increasing recog-
nition of ILSIs activities on behalf of industry have led it
to be increasingly viewed as a private entity with con-
flicts of interest.
Notably, the FOIs make clear ILSI was previously de-
ployed to influence the WHO Director General Marga-
ret Chan, who had promoted policies and research
contrary to the interests of those selling sugar-sweetened
products, with Malaspina stating:
We must find a way of some one such as a famous
scientist arrange to pay her a visit. Jim Hill or some
one of similar stature or a US Government scientist.
As the President of ILSI I had a special and productive
luncheon with the former DG, Dr Nakajime [SIC] in
1995 at his private dining room in the WHO Geneva
Headquarters to tell him about ILSI and how the two
organisations could work with each other. In 1999 I
visited the new DG Mrs Brutland in Geneva, when I
invited her, on behalf of the World Economic Forum,
to come to the Davos meeting of 1999, and be the
Keynote Speaker at the Food Governors special dinner
By the way, the future Coke President, Mr Neville
Isdell attended that dinner with me. In summary I am
suggesting that collectively we must find a way to start
a dialogue with Dr Chen [SIC]. If not, she will
continue to blast us with significant negative
consequences on a global basis. This threat to our
business is serious. [Typographic errors his own] [27]
In subsequent emails, Malaspina asks Bowman:
Any ideas how we can have a conversation with
WHO? Now, they do not want to work with industry.
Who finds all the new drugs. Not WHO, but industry.
She is influenced by the Chinese Govt and is against
US. Something Must be done [sic].
Bowman then proceeds to provide advice about whom
to approach to influence the WHO on sugar and bever-
age policy matters, and to promote ILSIs central role in
influencing the policy arena; an email chain that when
revealed garnered international press, and resulted in
Bowmans subsequent resignation from the CDC [28].
Following this 2015 exchange, Harris asked the ILSI
board of trustees to consider an amendment to the
membership section of the ILSI bylaws as a way of ad-
dressing a concern recently raised by the WHO regard-
ing one of ILSIs members being linked to tobacco [29].
In the minutes, it is noted that the WHO proposes to
class ILSI as a private sectorentity, a classification
which is wholly unacceptable to ILSI.
In a 2015 email, Eric Hentges detailed to ILSI mem-
bers, academic collaborators and others that:
in late January 2015, the World Health
Organizations Executive Board decided to discontinue
official relations with the International Life Sciences
Institute (ILSI) [30].
This email chain indicates that, despite efforts to amend
its bylaws to maintain official relations with the WHO,
the WHO chose to remove ILSI from its lists, thereby
removing special status.
Our analysis of the FOI documents does not portray
ILSI as a neutral, independent scientific charity acting to
improve the publics health and well-being around the
world. We identified overt attempts by ILSI to influence
individuals, positions, and policy, both at national and
international levels, alongside clear statements that
ILSIs corporate members deploy it as a tool to thwart
policies or leaders who are hostile to their interests. Pol-
icy makers around the world, and our medical, public
health, and nutrition colleagues, should be mindful of
this industry influence when approaching studies funded
by ILSI, which regularly appear in leading journals, and
when receiving ILSI perspectives on the evidence-base
to support policy making.
Before interpreting the implications of our findings for
policy and future research on the commercial determi-
nants of health, we must first acknowledge its important
limitations. First, as with all FOI-based research, there is
potential for biases in our interpretations. To mitigate
this, we have quoted all text directly and in context,
allowing the documents to speak for themselves. Further,
we make all material cited available in accompanying
web links so that readers can interrogate our interpreta-
tions of source material and conduct research with the
batches themselves. We sought to actively look for in-
stances that refuted our interpretations and were unable
to do so in our document set.
For policy, our data suggests it is necessary to question
whether ILSI (along with related bodies like IFIC and
some of those listed in the Introduction) should be, as it
is currently, regarded as a charitable actor. The WHO
has asked whether ILSI should be regarded as a private
sector entity. ILSI recognises that such a change in cat-
egorisation would greatly circumscribe its role in policy-
making, especially as pertains to public health, and lead
those in public health to approach its work with appro-
priate caution, acknowledging industry influence.
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Given our evidence, we contend that ILSI should be
regarded as a lobby group and that academics and re-
searchers, policy makers, the media, and the public
should view ILSIs research as promoting the interests of
the food, beverage, supplement and agrichemical indus-
tries, while its actions promote its members interests
and counter healthy public policies.
While ILSI purports to be working for health and well-
being of populations internationally, we identified at-
tempts by ILSI to influence individuals, professional
guidance, and policy, both locally and internationally,
while we saw evidence that its corporate members de-
ploy it as a tool to promote their interests globally. As
such, policy makers, international bodies, and the med-
ical and research communities, should approach ILSIs
work with caution, viewing it as industry funded and in-
fluenced. Regulators should also consider ILSIs status as
a lobby group in Europe, the Americas, and beyond. Our
analysis of ILSI serves as a caution to those involved in
global health governance to be wary of putatively inde-
pendent research groups, and to practice due diligence
before relying upon their funded studies and/or engaging
in relationship with such groups.
Not applicable.
This work was funded by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. The views
expressed in this paper do not necessarily reflect the views of the funder.
Availability of data and materials
The full PDFs of the batches received can be found at:;;;;
These are PDF copies of the documents we received in conjunction with the
relevant state FOI laws. There are no additional data to provide.
GR collected the data via Freedom of Information Requests, with Rebecca
Morrison of USRTK, whom the authors would like to thank. GR and SS
undertook initial independent review of the materials. SS, DS, GR and MM
contributed to analysis of the data, writing and revision of the initial
manuscript. LS contributed to the writing and revision of the final
manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
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Competing interests
SS and LS have no competing interests to declare. MM is a member of the
National Academy of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, which is
mentioned in the paper as one of a number of organisations that have
received corporate funding. DS is funded by a European Research Council
Grant: 313590-HRES and the Wellcome Trust. GR is co-director of U.S. Right
to Know, a non-profit public interest, consumer and public health organization.
Since its founding in 2014, USRTK has received the following contributions from
major donors (gifts of $5,000 or more): Organic Consumers Association
$587,500; Laura and John Arnold Foundation: $382,600; Dr. BronnersFamily
Foundation: $300,000; CrossFit Foundation: $50,000; Westreich Foundation:
$40,000; Panta Rhea Foundation: $20,000; Community Foundation of Western
North Carolina (Little Acorn Fund M): $15,0 00.
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Author details
Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge,
Cambridge, UK.
Jesus College, Jesus Lane, Cambridge CB58BL, UK.
Right to Know, Cambridge, USA.
Department of Public Health and Policy,
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK.
Research Centre and Department of Policy Analysis and Public Management,
University of Bocconi, Milan, Italy.
Received: 19 November 2018 Accepted: 8 May 2019
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8. Harris S. Correcting the record. Nat Biotechnol. 2010;28:223.
9. International life science institute. Frequently asked questions. 2016. http:// Accessed 19 July 2018.
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research partnerships? A network analysis of Coca-Colas research funding
(20082016). Public Health Nutr. 2018;21:1594607.
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of commercial research funding, disclosure and agreements with Coca-Cola.
J Public Health Pol. 2019.
Available at:
12. The full PDFs of the batches received can be found at: (1)
wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Samuel-Cohen.pdf; (2)
content/uploads/2018/12/Michael-Doyle.pdf; (3)
content/uploads/2018/12/Joanne-Lupton.pdf; (4)
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Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
content/uploads/2018/12/John-Peters.pdf; (5)
13. USRTK. Form 990: Return of Organisation Exempt from Income Tax 2013 for
the International Life Sciences Institute. 2018.
14. USRTK. ILSI 2012 Major Donors List. 2018.
15. USRTK. Guidelines are a real disaster. 2018.
16. Anon, editor. Editors in chief. Toxicol Ind Health. 1992;8:44751. https://doi.
17. Senzik S. Articles and abstracts. 1984. https://www.industrydocumentslibrary. Accessed 27 July 2018.
18. USRTK. Awards. 2016.
Malaspina-Jim-Emerson.pdf. Accessed 27 July 2018.
19. USRTK. IFIC Sister entity ILSI. 2015.
20. USRTK. Freedom of Information IFIC Knowles Emails. 2017. https://www.
21. USRTK. ILSI Mexico. 2015;1401.
22. European Commission. Transparency. 2018.
Accessed 30 July 2018.
23. Kerr W, Lincoln W, Mishra P. The dynamics of firm lobbying. Vox. 2011. Accessed 30 July 2018.
24. USRTK. Report on ASN. 2015.
25. ILSE-SEA. Junshi Chen. 2018;:2018.
26. Neslen A. UN/WHO panel in conflict of interest row over glyphosate cancer
risk. The Guardian. 2016.
risk. Accessed 30 July 2018.
27. USRTK. Daily European news Falsh. 2015.
28. Gillam C. CDC official exits agency after Coca-Cola connections come to
light. Huffpost. 2017;
official-exits-agency_b_10760490.html. Accessed 14 Dec 2018.
29. ILSI. ILSI Board of Trustees Annual Meeting Draft Minutes Saturday,. 2015.
30. USRTK. ILSIs Official relations with the World Health Organisation. 2015.
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... Prior studies have made use of publicly-available documents to analyze mechanisms through which large companies influence research and policy via industry front-groups, with many focused on the food and beverage industry-funded International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) [3][4][5][6]. A front group is "an organization that purports to represent one agenda while in reality it serves some other party or interest whose sponsorship is hidden or rarely mentioned. ...
... Results from this study confirm that, at least for one fiscal year, IFIC was funded mostly by large food and beverage companies and the USDA, with the for-profit companies comprising the majority of contributors and many of whom are represented as members of the IFIC Board of Trustees. The extent to which IFIC activities are funded by large food and beverage companies, and the extent to which these companies exert guidance over IFIC activities via board representation, extends prior evidence suggestive of IFIC as an industry front group [4,6]. Recently, Steele and colleagues (2019) concluded that given the close connection between IFIC and Coca-Cola, it is possible that IFIC promotes industry positions "by stealth. ...
... Recently, Steele and colleagues (2019) concluded that given the close connection between IFIC and Coca-Cola, it is possible that IFIC promotes industry positions "by stealth. " [6] Sacks and colleagues (2018) previously reviewed email exchanges between former Coca-Cola executives Michael Ernest Knowles and Alex Malaspina, who discuss the value of IFIC as a public relations company with influence over global debates about nutrition and health [4]. In that study, the authors make clear the role that IFIC plays as one of several non-profits, alongside ILSI, to support food and beverage business interests which are often in conflict with broad public health interventions [4]. ...
Full-text available
Background The International Food Information Council (IFIC) and its partner foundation (IFIC Foundation) widely disseminate nutrition information and participate in relevant policymaking processes. Prior research has established a connection between IFIC and large food and beverage companies, representing a potential conflict of interest. The authors reviewed public records documents to investigate the connection between IFIC and industry, and to describe how IFIC communicates policy-relevant information about nutrition science to the public. Methods The research team collected communications between IFIC and members of the research and policymaking communities by using state and federal transparency laws. The team analyzed the content of these documents with a commercial determinants of health framework while allowing for new themes to emerge, guided by the broad analytic questions of how and why does IFIC communicate nutrition information to policymakers and the broader public? Results IFIC employs self-designed research and media outreach to disseminate nutrition information. Communications from IFIC and its affiliates related to nutrition information fell within major themes of manufacturing doubt and preference shaping. Conclusions IFIC uses media outlets to preemptively counter information about the negative health impacts of added sugars and ultra-processed foods, and promotes a personal-responsibility narrative about dietary intake and health. IFIC and its affiliates disseminate a narrow subset of nutrition and health information consistent with corporate interests and in opposition to public health policies associated with improved population health.
... Here we propose to extend on these approaches to evaluate systematically the potential for such veiled interests behind nutritional information, by using systematic searches of industry document archives to go 'behind the scenes' of corporate-funded scientific groups. Previous studies have used this method to explore the activities of industry-funded third-party organisations like GEBN and the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) and its constituent organisations around the world, revealing their funding, industry influences, and past interactions [9][10][11][12]. Indeed, here we explore one case study within the wider system of corporate efforts to influence health and science communications. ...
... The emails suggest that a broad network of bodies act together in a supportive manner, including IFIC, sometimes to promote agreed messaging around "energy balance" and obesity and in product defence more generally. This supports prior research which identified a constellation of non-profit bodies that are partially or fully industry funded work together and function in partnerships, with past financial records uncovered showing significant funding from bodies across the food and beverage sectors supporting ILSI and GEBN, for example [6,9,18]. ...
... We make several important observations from the emails we identified. First, there was evidence that IFIC was intended to communicate evidence produced by other industry-funded organisations like ILSI [9][10][11][31][32][33]. Second, IFIC was employed to take on so-called "hard-hitting issues" to industry, summating evidence, but as well as to counter evidence that industry opposed. ...
Full-text available
Background There are growing concerns that the public’s trust in science is eroding, including concerns that vested interests are corrupting what we know about our food. We know the food industry funds third-party ‘front groups’ to advance its positions and profits. Here we ask whether this is the case with International Food Information Council (IFIC) and its associated Foundation, exploring its motivations and the potential for industry influence on communications around nutritional science. Method We systematically searched the University of California San Francisco’s Food Industry Documents Archive, for all documents pertaining to IFIC, which were then thematically evaluated against a science-communication influence model. Results We identified 75 documents which evidence that prominent individuals with long careers in the food industry view IFIC as designed to: 1) advance industry public relations goals; 2) amplify the messages of industry-funded research organizations; and 3) place industry approved experts before the press and media, in ways that conceal industry input. We observed that there were in some cases efforts made to conceal and dilute industry links associated with IFIC from the public’s view. Discussion Instances suggesting IFIC communicates content produced by industry, and other industry-funded organisations like ILSI, give rise to concerns about vested interests going undetected in its outputs. IFIC’s deployment to take on so-called “hard-hitting issues” for industry, summating evidence, while countering evidence that industry opposes, give rise to concerns about IFIC’s purported neutrality. IFIC’s role in coordinating and placing industry allies in online and traditional press outlets, to overcome industry’s global scientific, legislative, regulatory and public relations challenges, leads also to concerns about it thwarting effective public health and safety measures. Conclusions IFIC’s promotion of evidence for the food industry should be interpreted as marketing strategy for those funders. Effective science communication may be obfuscated by undeclared conflicts of interests.
... Despite its prevalence in the food and nutrition sciencesincluding in highly regarded peer-reviewed journals-there is widespread skepticism about the credibility and transparency of industry-funded nutrition research (1)(2)(3). In recent years this conversation has had heightened visibility stemming from a variety of factors, including adoption within the scientific community of more robust standards for transparency and disclosure, discussions about trust in science reaching broader and more general audiences in the mass and social media, and exposés of partnerships with industry gone wrong (4). ...
Full-text available
Although the food and beverage industry plays a critical role in advancing food and nutrition science, industry-funded research is subject to intense scrutiny as a result of various perceived and real biases related to funding sources. To address this, the Institute for the Advancement of Food and Nutrition Sciences (IAFNS) Assembly on Scientific Integrity has updated its Guiding Principles for Funding Food Science and Nutrition Research to provide a modernized framework for minimizing bias and promoting integrity in industry-funded research. Existing best practices for managing conflicts and maintaining trust in science, as well as coverage related to conflicts in industry-funded research, were reviewed to inform the development of the updated Guiding Principles. The updated Guiding Principles continue to provide conflict-of-interest guidelines to protect the integrity and credibility of the scientific record. These updates provide clarification, strengthen the guardrails that separate the funding from the science, and reflect the shift within the scientific community toward increased transparency and open science. If the principles are followed as intended, there should be little reason to dispute the results of industry-funded studies, other than to debate the science itself. This article issues a challenge to the research community to strive for just that.
... No Quadro 2, usando o enquadramento de APC como um fio condutor, relatamos um estudo de caso específico da filial local do ILSI. Nos últimos anos, o ILSI tem sido criticado a nível global por alegar ser um instituto de pesquisa independente, ao mesmo tempo em que serve aos interesses de seus financiadores, grandes multinacionais de alimentos, em vez de servir aos interesses de saúde pública 13,14,15 . O ILSI Brasil é apoiado pela Coca-Cola (A97), Danone (A162), General Mills (A165), Kellogg's (A180), entre outros. ...
Full-text available
In the past, food industry actors tried to delay and weaken public health efforts to promote adequate and healthy diets in Brazil. This study aimed to identify the political strategies used by food industry actors in Brazil. We undertook a document analysis of publicly available information and interviews with eighteen key informants in public health nutrition. Data collection and analysis were carried between October 2018 and January 2019. In Brazil, food industry actors interacted with health organizations, communities, and the media. They disseminated information on nutrition and physical activity by scientific events and schools. The food industry also had allies within the government and lobbied high ranking officials. Finally, food industry actors intimidated some public health professionals, including by threats of litigation, which had the effect of silencing them. These strategies were facilitated by the use of arguments, such as the crucial role that the food industry plays in the economy and its support to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Personal responsibility, moderation, and education were cited as solutions to the obesity epidemic, and there was little discussion on the broader issue of inadequate and unhealthy diets. Food industry actors in Brazil used a diverse range of political strategies, which have the potential of negatively influencing public policy, research, and practice in the country. Learning about these strategies is an essential first step, and in response, it is crucial to develop robust mechanisms to address undue influence from corporations.
... The potency of this misinformation is of concern in part because exposure to it is widespread. Compared to the tobacco industry, which has now been prevented from many forms of public engagement, the fossil fuel, alcohol, and sugar sweetened beverage industries have far wider access to the public as conveyors of misinformation, including by funding charities with the express purpose of communicating on product harms to the general public, as well as to children and young people through schools (Miller et al., 2011;Madureira Lima and Galea, 2018;Gross, 2018;Steele et al., 2019;Jackson & Dixon, 2020). By way of example, Drinkaware, an alcohol-industry-sponsored charity in the UK, whose misinformation is used in two of our examples, is named on most alcohol-related advertising labels, posters and adverts, and its website, from which the information used in this study was obtained, received over 10 million unique visitors in 2018 (DrinkAware. ...
Full-text available
Background Manufacturers of harmful products engage in misinformation tactics long employed by the tobacco industry to emphasize uncertainty about scientific evidence and deflect negative attention from their products. This study assessed the effects of one type of tactic, “alternative causation” arguments, on public understanding. Methods In five trials (one for each industry) anonymized Qualtrics panel respondents were randomized to receive a message on the risk in question from one of four industrysponsored organizations (exposure), or from one of four independent organizations (control), on risks related to alcohol, tobacco, fossil fuel and sugar sweetened beverages. Logistic regression models were used to evaluate the effect of industry arguments about uncertainty on the primary outcome of public certainty about product risk, adjusting for age, gender and education. The results from all five trials were pooled in a random-effects meta-analysis. Findings In total, n=3284 respondents were exposed to industry-sponsored messaging about product-related risks, compared to n=3297 exposed to non-industry messages. Across all industries, exposure to industry-sponsored messages led to greater reported uncertainty or false certainty about risk, compared to non-industry messages [Summary odds ratio (OR) 1·60, confidence interval (CI) 1·28–1·99]. The effect was greater among those who self-rated as not/slightly knowledgeable (OR 2·24, CI 1·61–3·12), or moderately knowledgeable (OR 1·85, CI 1·38–2·48) compared to those very/extremely knowledgeable (OR 1·28, CI 1·03–1·60). Conclusions This study demonstrates that exposure to industrysponsored messages which appear intended to downplay risk significantly increases uncertainty or false certainty, with the effect being greater in less knowledgeable participants.
... Second, government agency is undermined by powerful corporate lobbying, and limited by the process of law, which gives many legal rights to corporations [155]. Third, corporations actively misinform and confuse consumers, thus negating education campaigns [156], and undermine public health research [157,158]. ...
Full-text available
The major threat to human societies posed by undernutrition has been recognised for millennia. Despite substantial economic development and scientific innovation, however, progress in addressing this global challenge has been inadequate. Paradoxically, the last half-century also saw the rapid emergence of obesity, first in high-income countries but now also in low- and middle-income countries. Traditionally, these problems were approached separately, but there is increasing recognition that they have common drivers and need integrated responses. The new nutrition reality comprises a global ‘double burden’ of malnutrition, where the challenges of food insecurity, nutritional deficiencies and undernutrition coexist and interact with obesity, sedentary behaviour, unhealthy diets and environments that foster unhealthy behaviour. Beyond immediate efforts to prevent and treat malnutrition, what must change in order to reduce the future burden? Here, we present a conceptual framework that focuses on the deeper structural drivers of malnutrition embedded in society, and their interaction with biological mechanisms of appetite regulation and physiological homeostasis. Building on a review of malnutrition in past societies, our framework brings to the fore the power dynamics that characterise contemporary human food systems at many levels. We focus on the concept of agency, the ability of individuals or organisations to pursue their goals. In globalized food systems, the agency of individuals is directly confronted by the agency of several other types of actor, including corporations, governments and supranational institutions. The intakes of energy and nutrients by individuals are powerfully shaped by this ‘competition of agency’, and we therefore argue that the greatest opportunities to reduce malnutrition lie in rebalancing agency across the competing actors. The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on food systems and individuals illustrates our conceptual framework. Efforts to improve agency must both drive and respond to complementary efforts to promote and maintain equitable societies and planetary health.
Public-private partnerships are subject to intense scrutiny. This is specifically the case for sensitive health-related topics such as alcohol consumption. The brewing sector and representatives of the scientific community therefore stressed the need for specific principles for the proper and transparent governance of research and other collaborations between the brewing sector and research entities. At a one-day seminar, a group of scientists and representatives from the brewing and food sector reached a consensus for such principles. They adhere to the following four fundamental conditions: Freedom of research, Accessibility, Contextualization and Transparency. The points of focus in the FACT principles are open science, meaning that the methods and results are made accessible and reusable, and relationships are clearly disclosed. Actions to be taken for dissemination and implementation of the FACT Principles are, for instance, publishing them on public websites, including them in formal research agreements, and citing them in scientific publications. Scientific journals and (research) societies are encouraged to support the FACT Principles. In conclusion, the FACT Principles provide a framework for increased transparency and control of funding-related bias in research and other collaborations between the brewing sector and research entities. Monitoring their use and evaluating their impact will help to further refine and enforce the FACT Principles in the future.
The history of food is replete with examples of food scandals leading to institutional and procedural reforms intended to rebuild trust. For trust to be sustainable, systems need to be trustworthy. Food regulatory institutions are at the interface of science and policy, and they should have robust and reliable mechanisms for identifying and addressing commercial conflicts of interest (COIs) among the membership of their boards and advisory committees. Here we provide a detailed estimate, analysis and critique of COIs within the United Kingdom’s food regulatory institutions. This exercise was facilitated by the United Kingdom’s rule requiring declarations of COIs, which are published. Institutions that require and publish declarations of COIs are probably more trustworthy than those that do not, while institutions that exclude all individuals with COIs could be even more trustworthy. Regulatory bodies exist at the science–policy interface. They must have robust and reliable mechanisms to avert regulatory capture, including ways to identify and address conflicts of interest.
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Objectives: Research identifies that multinational corporations, including The Coca-Cola Company ('Coca-Cola'), seek to influence public health research and policy through scientific events, such as academic and professional conferences This study aims to understand how different forms of funding and sponsorship impact the relationship between Coca-Cola, academic institutions, public health organizations, academics, and researchers. Design: The study was conducted using Freedom of Information (FOI) requests and systematic website searches. Setting: Data were collected by 22 FOI requests to institutions in the US and UK, resulting in the disclosure of 11,488 pages, including emails and attachments relating to 239 events between 2009 and 2018. We used the Wayback Machine to review historical website data to evaluate evidence from 151 available official conference websites. Participants: N/A. Results: Documents suggest Coca-Cola provides direct financial support to institutions and organizations hosting events in exchange for benefits, including influence over proceedings. Coca-Cola also provided direct financial support to speakers and researchers, sometimes conditional on media interviews. Also, indirect financial support passed through Coca-Cola-financed non-profits. Often, such financial support was not readily identifiable, and third-party involvement further concealed Coca-Cola funding. Conclusion: Coca-Cola exerts direct influence on academic institutions and organizations that convene major public health conferences and events. These events offer Coca-Cola a vehicle for its messaging and the amplifying viewpoints favourable to Coca-Cola's interests. Such corporate-sponsored events should be viewed as instruments of industry marketing. Stronger rules and safeguards are needed to prevent hidden industry influence, such as complete disclosure of all corporate contributions for public health conferences and their speakers.
Full-text available
Concerns about conflicts of interest in commercially funded research have generated increasing disclosure requirements, but are these enough to assess influence? Using the Coca-Cola Company as an example, we explore its research agreements to understand influence. Freedom of Information requests identified 87,013 pages of documents, including five agreements between Coca-Cola and public institutions in the United States, and Canada. We assess whether they allowed Coca-Cola to exercise control or influence. Provisions gave Coca-Cola the right to review research in advance of publication as well as control over (1) study data, (2) disclosure of results and (3) acknowledgement of Coca-Cola funding. Some agreements specified that Coca-Cola has the ultimate decision about any publication of peer-reviewed papers prior to its approval of the researchers’ final report. If so desired, Coca-Cola can thus prevent publication of unfavourable research, but we found no evidence of this to date in the emails we received. The documents also reveal researchers can negotiate with funders successfully to remove restrictive clauses on their research. We recommend journals supplement funding disclosures and conflict-of-interest statements by requiring authors to attach funder agreements.
Full-text available
Objective To (i) evaluate the extent to which Coca-Cola’s ‘Transparency Lists’ of 218 researchers that it funds are comprehensive; (ii) map all scientific research acknowledging funding from Coca-Cola; (iii) identify those institutions, authors and research topics funded by Coca-Cola; and (iv) use Coca-Cola’s disclosure to gauge whether its funded researchers acknowledge the source of funding. Design Using Web of Science Core Collection database, we retrieved all studies declaring receipt of direct funding from the Coca-Cola brand, published between 2008 and 2016. Using conservative eligibility criteria, we iteratively removed studies and recreated Coca-Cola’s transparency lists using our data. We used network analysis and structural topic modelling to assess the structure, organization and thematic focus of Coca-Cola’s research enterprise, and string matching to evaluate the completeness of Coca-Cola’s transparency lists. Results Three hundred and eighty-nine articles, published in 169 different journals, and authored by 907 researchers, cite funding from The Coca-Cola Company. Of these, Coca-Cola acknowledges funding forty-two authors (<5 %). We observed that the funded research focuses mostly on nutrition and emphasizes the importance of physical activity and the concept of ‘energy balance’. Conclusions The Coca-Cola Company appears to have failed to declare a comprehensive list of its research activities. Further, several funded authors appear to have failed to declare receipt of funding. Most of Coca-Cola’s research support is directed towards physical activity and disregards the role of diet in obesity. Despite initiatives for greater transparency of research funding, the full scale of Coca-Cola’s involvement is still not known.
The conclusions in “The increasing inefficiency of private health insurance in Canada”1 about the trends in medical loss expense ratios for insured supplemental health benefit plans are incorrect and ultimately misleading. The data used in this article1 are aggregate-level data for group and individual benefits in Canada. The data includes a disparate set of coverages that have different market drivers. The loss ratios vary greatly for each set of coverages, as do their historical trends. Broadly, the group benefits business can be broken into two areas: supplemental health insurance plans (e.g., drugs, dental, travel, paramedical, vision, hospital rooms) and income replacement (i.e., short and long-term disability) and other nonmedical coverages (e.g., creditors disability insurance, critical illness). Loss ratios for specific coverages can vary substantially from year to year. I can confirm that the average medical loss ratio for insured supplemental health insurance plans between 1997 and 2012 was 85%, with the medical loss ratio coming in at 82% in 2012. The medical loss ratio for supplemental health benefit plans over this period has been relatively flat. The negative trend in the aggregate-level data that is highlighted in the article1 is being driven by the income replacement and other nonmedical expense coverages. Income replacement coverages (the largest component) have experienced a decreasing loss ratio over this period. These benefits are paid over many years and are funded by premiums collected and investment income earned on the assets purchased with the premium. The decreasing loss ratio is in part due to an increasingly larger portion of the benefit being funded by premium rather than investment income as a result of the falling and sustained low-interest rate environment in Canada over that period. The private health insurance industry is highly competitive, with over 25 insurers providing group health benefits. Should a client feel that a proposed premium adjustment is unwarranted at his plan’s renewal date, the client can negotiate with the insurer or transfer his business to a new insurer.
We study the determinants of the dynamics of firm lobbying behavior using a panel data set covering 1998-2006. Our data exhibit three striking facts: (i) few firms lobby, (ii) lobbying status is strongly associated with firm size, and (iii) lobbying status is highly persistent over time. Estimating a model of a firm’s decision to engage in lobbying, we find significant evidence that up- front costs associated with entering the political process help explain all three facts. We then exploit a natural experiment in the expiration in legislation surrounding the H-1B visa cap for high-skilled immigrant workers to study how these costs affect firms’ responses to policy changes. We find that companies primarily adjusted on the intensive margin: the firms that began to lobby for immigration were those who were sensitive to H-1B policy changes and who were already advocating for other issues, rather than firms that became involved in lobbying anew. For a firm already lobbying, the response is determined by the importance of the issue to the firm’s business rather than the scale of the firm’s prior lobbying efforts. These results support the existence of significant barriers to entry in the lobbying process.
M&M’s maker publishes science policy in bid to boost transparency. Reuters
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Prentice C. M&M's maker publishes science policy in bid to boost transparency. Reuters. 2018. Accessed 26 July 2018.
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Anon, editor. Editors in chief. Toxicol Ind Health. 1992;8:447-51. https://doi. org/10.1177/074823379200800609.
Articles and abstracts
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Senzik S. Articles and abstracts. 1984. https://www.industrydocumentslibrary. Accessed 27 July 2018.
Coke-funded anti-obesity research group GEBN to shut down
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Navarro A. Coke-funded anti-obesity research group GEBN to shut down. Tech Times. 2015.