The Fund supports networks of state health policy decision makers to help identify, inspire, and inform policy leaders.
The Milbank Memorial Fund supports two state leadership programs for legislative and executive branch state government officials committed to improving population health.
The Fund identifies and shares policy ideas and analysis to advance state health leadership, strong primary care, healthy aging, and sustainable health care costs.
Keep up with news and updates from the Milbank Memorial Fund. And read the latest blogs from our thought leaders, including Fund President Christopher F. Koller.
The Fund publishes The Milbank Quarterly, as well as reports, issues briefs, and case studies on topics important to health policy leaders.
The Milbank Memorial Fund is is a foundation that works to improve population health and health equity.
Nason Maani Hessari
Nov 27, 2023
Oct 26, 2023
Oct 11, 2023
Back to The Milbank Quarterly
Context: There is a continuing debate about the appropriateness of contacts between manufacturers of some harmful products and health researchers, as well as practitioners and policymakers. Some argue that such contacts may be a means of exerting undue influence, while others present them as an opportunity to pursue shared health goals. This article examines interactions between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Coca-Cola Company (Coca-Cola) as revealed by communications obtained through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.
Methods: We sent 10 US FOIA requests in 2016/2017 for communications between employees at the CDC and Coca-Cola.We then performed a thematic content analysis of the documents provided.
Findings: Of our 10 FOIA requests, 3 requests are still pending (at the time of this publication); 5 were rejected as too broad or because no records were found; and 3 returned 295 pages from 86 emails. The CDC withheld 102 pages to “protect commercial or financial information which is privileged or confidential.” The returned emails demonstrate three main themes in Coca-Cola’s contact with CDC employees: to gain and expand access, to lobby, and to shift attention and blame away from sugar-sweetened beverages.
Conclusions: The emails we obtained using FOIA requests reveal efforts by Coca-Cola to lobby the CDC to advance corporate objectives rather than health, including to influence the World Health Organization. Our findings provide a rare example of the ways in which corporate interests attempt to influence public health practitioners “in their own words,” and they demonstrate a need for clearer policies on avoiding partnerships with manufacturers of harmful products.
Keywords: commercial determinants of health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, government transparency, public health.
Read on Wiley Online Library
Volume 97, Issue 1 (pages 74-90) DOI: 10.1111/1468-0009.12368 Published in 2019
Get the Latest from the Milbank Memorial Fund
The Milbank Quarterly’s multidisciplinary approach and commitment to applying the best empirical research to practical policymaking offers in-depth assessments of the social, economic, political, historical, legal, and ethical dimensions of health and health care policy.