Over 70 public health experts in India have signed a petition campaign and sent to the ministries of Health and Family Welfare, Law and Justice and Parliamentary Affairs. The petition is to urge them to defend health policy-making from those with a conflict of interest.
"In the last two months, we saw few examples of tobacco industry interference in health policy making. India has ratified the global tobacco treaty, Article 5.3 of which clearly states that there is a direct and irreconcilable conflict of interest between tobacco industry and public health policy," said Rahul Dwivedi, Director of Vote For Health campaign.
"Health ministry should accelerate development and adoption of inter-ministerial code of conduct so that not just the health ministry but all other ministries are protecting health policy making process from tobacco industry interference," said Sandeep Pandey, Vice-president of Socialist Party (India).
"Law and Justice Ministry should come up with stronger legal measures that can further firewall health and development policy making from industry interference," he added.
Pandey also said that public health was unduly influenced by other industries such as food, drugs and vaccine, and by international agencies who represent these industries. The influence of corporate in public health should be put to an end.