Category Archives: In the News

Dark Money: How You Can See More of It, Thanks to FCC

While the Federal Election Commission may be hopelessly gridlocked along partisan lines when it comes to campaign-finance regulation, another arm of the government is providing journalists and citizen watchdogs with an important new tool for understanding who is trying to influence the election and how much is being spent to do so, writes Kathy Kiely of Moyers and Company.

Pharmaceutical Industry–Sponsored Meals and Physician Prescribing Patterns for Medicare Beneficiaries

A study of the impact of free meals offered by pharmaceutical companies to physicians attending industry-sponsored continuing education found that receipt of industry-sponsored meals was associated with an increased rate of prescribing the brand-name medication that was being promoted. The findings represent an association, not a cause-and-effect relationship. The findings were published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Assessing the health impact of transnational corporations: its importance and a framework

A framework for assessing health impact of transnational corporations. Source.
A framework for assessing health impact of transnational corporations.

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.

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Supreme Court Sides with R.J. Reynolds in RICO Case

The New York Times reports that the Supreme Court sided with the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company earlier this week in a lawsuit filed by European countries accusing it of complicity in an international money laundering scheme. The court, by a 4-to-3 vote, found that the company could not be sued under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, over its conduct abroad. The case was brought by the European Union and 26 of its member states. They accused RJR Nabisco and several associated companies of being part of a sprawling cigarette smuggling enterprise that deprived them of billions of dollars in customs and tax revenues.

Is free trade making us sick?

On May 20, the Jaime Lucero Institute on Mexican Studies at CUNY and the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute presented a workshop on free trade, health and nutrition in Mexico. The session was part of the Sobremesa, a festival on the role of food in Mexican communities in the United States and Mexico. The first presentation by Nicholas Freudenberg from City University of New York School of Public Health examined some of the ways that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) contributed to diet-related diseases in Mexico. View the presentation here.

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NRA is now almost entirely a pro-Republican group, spending more money than ever to ensure Congress doesn’t enact any gun safety laws

For four decades, the National Rifle Association has pumped millions of dollars into federal elections, supporting both Republican and Democratic candidates who voted in accordance with the gun group’s strict view of the Second Amendment. That era is over, reports the New York Daily News and The Trace. “What you’re seeing is that the NRA is now operating at the core of the Republican national party coalition,” says Michael Malbin, executive director of the Campaign Finance Institute, a leading think tank on money in politics. “They’ve essentially zeroed out Democrats. They used to give to them as a way to maintain leverage in both parties.”

Leaked TTIP documents released

Earlier this month, Greenpeace Netherlands released secret documents from the EU-United States Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations. The 248 leaked pages comprise TTIP negotiating texts, including the US position, and internal EU documents outlining the state of play of the trade talks.  They are available at At the release, Jorgo Riss, director of Greenpeace EU, said: “Greenpeace Netherlands has made these documents publicly available to bring some much needed transparency to the debate on TTIP. We have seen grave concerns for environment and public health confirmed, and invite others with expertise in different areas to download these documents and analyse the impacts of this trade deal. The public has a right to know what is being traded away in their name.” The Greenpeace analysis of the documents is available here.

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