"Multinational Food, Drink and Alcohol industries are using similar strategies to the tobacco industry to undermine public health policies, a new paper has said."
Thus began a recent article in 'Journal.ie'. You are hardly going to believe this, but private companies engaged in bringing food and drink to the market are actually advertising, marketing and talking up their products. Dr Reilly refers to that kind of thing as 'evil'. Just recently, Guinness spent €6m on a long black and white ad that so was so obscure I thought it must be a trailer for a movie. Last Saturday in my local supermarket a pork producer from West Cork had a stand with a frying pan, and they were actually giving away cooked sausages.
This surely is profoundly wicked. If that's not bad enough, our local boozer had a Heineken event for the rugby international last Saturday with cute little honeys giving out vouchers for free pints of the Dutch nectar. And as price wars in food and drink are an everyday thing now, the papers report this morning that prices in those sectors have come down by 8% since 2008.
How then are they aping the strategies of the tobacco companies? Those companies here have the highest prices in the EU for their products. Far from in-store promotions, their cigarettes are hidden from public view in every outlet. They do not advertise at all in any media and, as such, the media lose nothing by criticizing them regularly. I have not heard our red-faced Health Minister refer to the Kerry Group as evil, to the best of my knowledge. Indeed, tobacco is the best kept secret in town. In fact, the only reliable place to buy tobacco now is out of the booth of a stranger’s car.
So where, you ask, could such an article come from? Enter those well-heeled, non-regulated, non-elected lads in Public Health. With an apparently bottomless pit of money to spend, the Public Health boys can turn their "Public Purse" to researchers anywhere and prove the world is flat if they feel the need to. They have already made a fortune from demonizing the tobacco companies and perhaps sensing that this goldmine is all but exhausted now, they are turning their attention to another fat cow (if you'll excuse the pun). The Lancet and other medical journals have simply become weapons in the arsenal of Public Health. Dare I say, it is in fact Public Health that is now employing the same tactics they have used against tobacco and just switched their target.
Research with pre-determined results is paid for by pharma money via Public Health, peer-reviewed by paid lackeys of like mind, and published in the Lancet and other bibles of Public Health. Senior figures from Public Health in several countries will then congregate at lavish conferences in exotic locations sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry. Here, they decide the strategy, tactics, and terminology to use. Back at base, the agitation and lobbying begin until governments cave in and legislate for them. A recurring theme of these puritans is money and tax. They recommend increasing prices for commercial products as a deterrent to consumption, but their true aim is to provide government with funds to give to their Public Health crusade. This is their "public purse" and as we have seen in Ireland, such funds are completely unaccountable.
The amounts involved are staggering and allow Public Health to buy the media through expensive ad campaigns that warn against almost everything. When you read the Journal article though, you will spot the pay-back to Big Pharma. The main thrust of it is the need for regulation and medication. This translates into laws that force your money away from food and drink products and point you instead to pharmaceutical products. It is actually as simple as that. The Public Health lads get a generous and regular income, the pharmaceutical companies make wild profits and the Food & Drink lads pay the piper.
Welcome to Public Health, which has nothing to do with the health of the public!