Globalization and Health
[Accessed 30 Jan 2021]
A call to advance and translate research into policy on governance, ethics, and conflicts of interest in public health: the GECI-PH network
Authors: Rima Nakkash, Melissa Mialon, Jihad Makhoul, Monika Arora, Rima Afifi, Abeer Al Halabi and Leslie London
25 January 2021
Efforts to adopt public health policies that would limit the consumption of unhealthy commodities, such as tobacco, alcohol and ultra-processed food products, are often undermined by private sector actors whose profits depend on the sales of such products. There is ample evidence showing that these corporations not only try to influence public health policy; they also shape research, practice and public opinion. Globalization, trade and investment agreements, and privatization, amongst other factors, have facilitated the growing influence of private sector actors on public health at both national and global levels. Protecting and promoting public health from the undue influence of private sector actors is thus an urgent task. With this backdrop in mind, we launched the “Governance, Ethics, and Conflicts of Interest in Public Health” Network (GECI-PH Network) in 2018. Our network seeks to share, collate, promote and foster knowledge on governance, ethical, and conflicts of interest that arise in the interactions between private sectors actors and those in public health, and within multi-stakeholder mechanisms where dividing lines between different actors are often blurred. We call for strong guidance to address and manage the influence of private sector actors on public health policy, research and practice, and for dialogue on this important topic. Our network recently reached 119 members. Membership is diverse in composition and expertise, location, and institutions. We invite colleagues with a common interest to join our network.