3millionlives: Whose idea was it? (Part 2)

Andrew Lansley, currently the Secretary of State for Health. I quote the programme, from minute 44 on…”Before the Conservative Party entered office Andrew Lansley, then Shadow Health Minister, declared that he was also a paid non-executive director of Profero, a marketing agency whose clients included Pizza Hut, Pepsi and Mars. He maintains he did not work on anything that could be a conflict of interest. But at the same time as he was preparing the Tory policy on obesity he invited contributions from food industry giants. Meetings would take place at the headquarters of global corporation Unilever…”

I think most people will find the subject of the whole programme interesting but if you are short on time you could skip to 27 mins onwards for the general picture. If really pressed for time skip to minute 44 and follow through to the end of the interview with MP Valerie Vaz at minute 58. Given the uncanny parallels, one is tempted to think that 3ML may have originated with Andrew Lansley. He wouldn’t be the first Minister to have one Big Idea and who then applied it here, there and everywhere. What do you think? Or do you know better?

To view the programme, readers in the UK can watch it on BBC iPlayer for the next few days. However, as it was made available for download (Windows Media Player format) you can download it here. It’s a large 590Mb file and it apparently has some kind of lock that prevents viewing more than 30 days after starting to watch it. If that download becomes inaccessible, an alternative download is here, but please avoid this one if possible.

UPDATE Monday 30 July. This gets more and more interesting. See this item: Department of Health defends anti-obesity efforts published in April. And now there is the ‘Alcohol Strategy’, which conforms to the same pattern and is raising the same concerns. See the House of Commons’s Select Health Committee’s report on it published 19 July. Its language is very restrained, of course, but look at the section Challenging the industry to act responsibly in its Conclusions and Recommendations. In paragraph 19 it reminds the Government that “It is for the Government, on behalf of society as a whole, to determine public policy…”

It is a pretty pass when Government has to be reminded of its role! In other words it is by passing laws and making regulations that Government fulfills its role of making people, companies, etc. do things that are in the public interest but which may go against their own interests. Sadly, what we see is that when it comes to health, we have a Government that has given up on governing.