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  1. 1

    Tully Rosen

    For GSK & Pfizer, it’s rather convenient to be able to support a popular position while washing their hands of lobbying that has been enabled by the fact that they support the organisation. Are they committing to no future support for ALEC? Or that they will work to change ALEC’s position on this?

    I mean.. they’re on the governance board, right? Which suggests there is probably a financial relationship as well.

    It’s not what you say, it’s what you do. And money talks.

  2. 2

    Sloan Bob

    This is basically the same arguments and excuses provided by the 30+ US corporations that have withdrawn from ALEC; claiming they had no interest or participation in legislation that did not impact directly upon their business interests.

    As Tully pointed out, their financial support through membership allows ALEC to continue their agenda on other fronts. What many are still unaware of is that ALEC has an International Relations Task Force that includes 17 members representing foreign governments/nations. These are full voting members taking part in helping develop proposed US laws and policies.

    One of these foreign voting members is Australia’s Senator Cory Bernardi who helped develop ALEC’s “Resolution Urging Congress to Pass a Ban on Plain Packaging” here in the US. The Private corporate chair of that ALEC task force is Philip Morris’ Brandie Davis who sponsored this bill/resolution. ALEC and the IRTF have been lobbying this legislation internationally for two years now, in Australia, the UK, EU, etc.

    Should other corporations leave ALEC, their influence and manipulation of the laws and policies of most countries would be much safer.

  3. 3

    Hefler Marita

    Medicines Australia’s response is utterly disingenuous and fails to provide any evidence that my article misrepresented the pharmaceutical industry. The article was grounded in the lack of evidence of GSK and Pfizer either publicly or actively supporting plain packaging or lobbying against the ALEC position. Comments by GSK and Pfizer in response to an unflattering article, together with an anodyne comment on the GSK homepage, do not constitute a clear position in favour of plain packaging. Neither company has demonstrated any other public support for it.

    Both Pfizer and GSK have executives sitting on the ALEC Private Enterprise Board (along with several other pharmaceutical industry representatives). Did any of those members raise concerns about ALEC’s decision to lobby against plain packaging, in any country where it is considered? If they are so opposed to ALEC lobbying against plain packaging, the ALEC Board would have been an appropriate place to raise their concerns. One can only conclude that the pharmaceutical industry is content for ALEC to aggressively lobbying against increased regulation, whether it favours the tobacco or pharmaceutical industries.

    I did not suggest that the pharmaceutical companies are deliberately promoting smoking. However, as the Medicines Australia response states “companies invest billions of dollars in medical research to develop smoking cessation medicines that are designed to help smokers quit.” There is no evidence that the pharmaceutical companies are actively lobbying in favour of initiatives such as plain packaging, which will ultimately kill the goose that laid the golden egg.


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