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Governments Should Address Link Between Trade, Global Rise Of NCDs

The Conversation: The hidden connection between obesity, heart disease, and trade
Ronald Labonte, professor and Canada research chair at the University of Ottawa

“…There is plenty of research evidence of the impact of trade and investment agreements on [noncommunicable diseases (NCDs)] such as heart disease, and on major risk factors such as obesity and tobacco use. … [T]here are three simple steps [governments] can take to ensure the ‘policy coherence’ that is the theme of the [WHO global conference to address NCDs in] Uruguay … First, governments should agree that all future trade and investment agreements contain a full carve-out for any non-discriminatory public health measure aimed at controlling NCD risks (or any other health concern) … Second, … governments should commit to not initiating a dispute against another country’s non-discriminatory public health measure. Third, governments should refrain from increasing patent protection on drugs used to treat NCDs. … These three commitments should be written into the final Uruguay agreement…” (10/18).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.