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Standardised tobacco packaging: a health policy case study of corporate conflict expansion and adaptation

Writing in BMJ Open, investigators conclude that the multifaceted opposition to standardised packaging in the United Kingdom was primarily undertaken by third parties with financial relationships with major tobacco manufacturers. Low levels of transparency regarding these links created a misleading impression of diverse and widespread opposition. Countries should strengthen implementation of Article 5.3 of the FCTC by systematically requiring conflict of interest declarations from all organisations participating in political or media debates on tobacco control.

Full citation: Hatchard JL, Fooks GJ, Gilmore AB. Standardised tobacco packaging: a health policy case study of corporate conflict expansion and adaptation. BMJ Open. 2016 Oct 7;6(10):e012634.

Blacklisted Businesses: Social Activists’ Challenges and the Disruption of Corporate Political Activity

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A new paper explores whether and how social activists’ challenges affect politicians’ willingness to associate with targeted firms. The authors study the effect of public protest on corporate political activity using a unique database that allows them to analyze empirically the impact of social movement boycotts on three proxies for associations with political stakeholders: the proportion of campaign contributions that are rejected, the number of times a firm is invited to give testimony in congressional hearings, and the number of government procurement contracts awarded to a firm. The authors show that boycotts lead to significant increases in the proportion of refunded contributions, as well as decreases in invited congressional appearances and awarded government contracts. These results highlight the importance of considering how a firm’s sociopolitical environment shapes the receptivity of critical non-market stakeholders.

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Bending in the Breeze: American Class Actions in the Twenty-First Century

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Writing in the DePaul Law Review, Richard Marcus observes that it is always better to have the breeze at your back, but that surely has not recently been the case for class action proponents. At the risk of overstating, there is a certain fin de siècle flavor to current procedural discussions, at least among academics; it seems that several foundational principles of late twentieth century procedural ordering have come under attack in the twenty-first century. Although not alone among those principles, class actions have a prominent role. Dean Robert Klonoff has recently written of “The Decline of Class Actions,” and Professor Linda Mullenix has written of “Ending Class Actions as We Know Them.” Professor Arthur Miller-who was present at the creation of the modern class action-has suggested that we face “the death of aggregate litigation by a thousand paper cuts.” But he, at least, sees some “rays of light that indicate it will survive.” …
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Medical device makers rally to save their ‘go-to guy’ in Congress

With lawmakers bearing down on drug and device companies over prices, the industry can’t afford to lose any friends on Capitol Hill, writes STAT, an online news service on the medical industry.  And when it comes to medical devices, the industry might not have a better friend than Minnesota Congressman Erik Paulsen. Paulsen, a four-term Republican, has long been device makers’ “go-to guy” in Washington, helping secure a two-year delay of the Affordable Care Act’s tax on medical devices and pursuing reforms that could help the industry. But this year, Donald Trump is threatening to drag Paulsen down. So device makers are stepping in and pouring money into his campaign to save him.

Offshore Shell Games 2016 The Use of Offshore Tax Havens by Fortune 500 Companies

By Richard Phillips, Citizens for Tax Justice; Matt Gardner, Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy; Kayla Kitson, Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy; Alexandria Robins, U.S. PIRG Education Fund; and Michelle Surka, U.S. PIRG Education Fund

U.S.-based multinational corporations are al­lowed to play by a different set of rules than small and domestic businesses or individu­als when it comes to paying taxes. Corporate lobbyists and their congressional allies have riddled the U.S. tax code with loopholes and exceptions that enable tax attorneys and corpo­rate accountants to book U.S. earned profits to subsidiaries located in offshore tax haven coun­tries with minimal or no taxes. The most trans­parent and galling aspect of this is that often, a company’s operational presence in a tax haven may be nothing more than a mailbox. Overall, multinational corporations use tax havens to avoid an estimated $100 billion in federal in­come taxes each year.

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Nearly 200 Music Industry Artists, Executives Demand Stricter Gun Control Laws

Almost 200 leading music industry figures have signed an open letter demanding Congress to pass bills for stricter gun control laws, including legislation that will prevent potentially dangerous individuals from purchasing firearms, reports The Wrap.  Lin-Manuel Miranda, Paul McCartney, Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga, and Demi Lovato were just a few of the names on the list. “As leading artists and executives in the music industry, we are adding our voices to the chorus of Americans demanding change,” the letter published by Billboard reads.

Why media representations of corporations matter for public health policy: a scoping review

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Media representations play a crucial role in informing public and policy opinions about the causes of, and solutions to, ill-health. A new paper, published in BMC Public Health, reviews studies analyzing media coverage of non-communicable disease (NCD) debates, focusing on how the industries marketing commodities that increase NCD risk are represented. A scoping review identified 61 studies providing information on media representations of NCD risks, NCD policies and tobacco, alcohol, processed food and soft drinks industries. Continue reading Why media representations of corporations matter for public health policy: a scoping review