Document Type: Commentary
Washington, DC, USA
Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University, Washington, DC, USA
Building on Tangcharoensathien and colleagues’ description of four tactics used by the tobacco, alcohol, processed food, and breast milk substitute industries to interfere with the development and implementation of health policies, we present a fifth tactic: trade and investment disputes. We describe recent examples of trade and investment claims filed by the tobacco industry to challenge plain packaging legislation, which may serve as a model for future claims by this and other industries. Next, we clarify specific areas of potential conflict between non-communicable disease (NCD) control policies and trade and investment agreement (TIA) commitments, identifying possible vulnerabilities that may be exploited by industry to challenge the legality of these policies. We conclude with ideas to strengthen the position of health policies vis à-vis commitments in TIAs.