In early April GAPA and the Regional Alliances sent a letter to the Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Tedros, raising concerns about the WHO interaction with alcohol industry.

The letter referred to the meeting held by WHO with the alcohol industry in February this year and the comment by Dr Tedros in the Lancet series on Commercial Determinants of Health, “Achieving health for all requires action on the economic and commercial determinants of health“. GAPA and the regional alliances welcomed that Dr Tedros expressed concern over the activities of the alcohol industry, among others, aiming to prevent the uptake of effective policies. “As part of civil society, we have been aware of and monitoring the alcohol industry’s tactics” the letter said.

In the letter the signatories point out how this industry sector is expanding in Low- and Middle-Income Countries through heavy marketing and policy interference. Further more, given the industry’s reliance on heavier drinking occasions for sales of alcohol products (around 70% of sales in LMICs), it is to be expected that the alcohol industry will work to undermine effective alcohol policy.

GAPA and the regional alliances observe that many Member States have raised concern over many years about the alcohol industry interference in policy development. The letter goes on to point out that GAPA will continue to advocate with Member States to rescind the recommendation in the Global alcohol action plan to have a dialogue with the alcohol industry. In the meantime GAPA request the WHO Secretariat to limit its interaction with the alcohol industry to every two years (at the maximum) as mandated in the Action Plan. Furthermore, the GAPA network requests the WHO Secretariat to increase the transparency on these interactions.

Read the full letter here: