Case Studies on Corporations & Global Health Governance, edited by Nora Kenworthy, Ross MacKenzie and Kelley Lee, presents interdisciplinary case studies on how corporations influence global health governance and how they could be held more accountable. The empirical studies examine several industries across high, low and middle income countries and explore the impact of corporations and their allies on the governance processes that shape population health.
By Nicholas Freudenberg
Last week, the New York Times reported that the driver of a Tesla Model S electric sedan was killed in an accident when the car was in self-driving mode. This was the first known death involving a vehicle being driven by itself by means of computer software, sensors, cameras and radar. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that the crash occurred when a tractor-trailer made a left turn in front of the Tesla, and the car failed to apply the brakes. Some observers labeled the accident a setback for driverless cars.
The adverse health and equity impacts of transnational corporations’ (TNCs) practices have become central public health concerns as TNCs increasingly dominate global trade and investment and shape national economies. Despite this, methodologies have been lacking with which to study the health equity impacts of individual corporations and thus to inform actions to mitigate or reverse negative and increase positive impacts. A new report in Globalization and Health describes a framework designed to conduct corporate health impact assessment (CHIA), that was developed at a meeting held at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center in May 2015.
Consumer Reports writes that vehicles made by 14 different automakers have been recalled to replace frontal airbags on the driver’s side or passenger’s side, or both in what NHTSA has called “the largest and most complex safety recall in U.S. history.” The airbags, made by major parts supplier Takata, were mostly installed in cars from model year 2002 through 2015. Some of those airbags could deploy explosively, injuring or even killing car occupants. At the heart of the problem is the airbag’s inflator, a metal cartridge loaded with propellant wafers, which in some cases has ignited with explosive force. If the inflator housing ruptures in a crash, metal shards from the airbag can be sprayed throughout the passenger cabin—a potentially disastrous outcome from a supposedly life-saving device.
In presentations on “Changing Corporate Practices to Reduce Non-Communicable Diseases and Injuries: A Promising Strategy for Improving Global Public Health?” at Edinburgh University and University of Glasgow, Nicholas Freudenberg, Distinguished Professor of Public Health at City University of New York School of Public Health, described the role of corporate business and political practices on the growing global burden of non-communicable diseases and injuries. He also analyzed what roles public health professionals can play in countering the adverse health effects of these practices. View the presentation.
Ford has issued a recall for around 202,000 of its best-selling pick-up trucks, SUVs and cars over a problem with the transmission that could suddenly downshift and cause a drop in speed, reports Fortune. Ford said the problem was based in the software installed in its speed sensor, and the recall will involve an update and vehicle inspections. The Detroit-based automaker also recalled 81,000 2014-2015 Ford Explorer and Ford Police Interceptor Utility vehicles to fix poor weld quality in its rear suspension links that could lead to a fracture.
One of the last big profit centers for Detroit’s automakers, the sport utility vehicle, is under siege, reports the New York Times. An onslaught of competitive new S.U.V.s, especially in the most profitable high-end segment, is in the development pipeline or already showing up in dealer showrooms. At this year’s New York International Auto Show, the star attractions weren’t the usual sleek sports and muscle cars, but new luxury S.U.V.s from Jaguar, Maserati (where a line formed for a chance to be enveloped in the wood-and leather-lined interior) and even Bentley, which had its new Bentayga safely cordoned off behind velvet ropes.