We evaluate the extent to which Coca-Cola tried to influence research in the Global Energy Balance Network, as revealed by correspondence between the company and leading public health academics obtained through Freedom-of-Information (FOI) requests.
Coca-Cola sought to obscure its relationship with researchers, minimise the public perception of its role and use these researchers to promote industry-friendly messaging. More robust approaches for managing conflicts of interest are needed to address diffuse and obscured patterns of industry influence.
Via: Daily Mail:
Coca-Cola’s work with scientists to downplay the role sugar plays in contributing to obesity has been called a ‘low point in this history of public health.’
The beverage company donated millions of dollars to a team of researchers at a non-profit claiming to look into causes of excess weight gain in the US.
However, the team ended up being a ‘front group’ for Coca-Cola and promoted the idea that it was a lack of exercise, not a bad diet, that was the primary driver of the US obesity epidemic.
What’s more, the group tried to downplay the fact that Coca-Cola was a donor of its research, and how much money the company gifted.