Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Why corporate power is a public health priority

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 21 August 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e5124

Rapid Response:

Re: Why corporate power is a public health priority

The issues discussed in the article are very important, and probably open up the most important public health debate of modern times. Going or gone are the traditional public health threats; the ones that Professor Hastings outlines are the most pressing and current ones and the worst because they have remained hidden for such a long time. This hidden anti-public health agenda of big business is partly accidental (business is not concerned with public health so why should it take an interest) but partly deliberate (if industry accepts any blame, it might have to compensate society and modify its behaviour).

But public health has not, in the past, flinched from addressing public health threats from any consideration of the agent responsible: no-one pulled their punches against pathogens out of sympathy for the organisms. We shouldn't be reticent now. But it would be foolish to assume that governments, commerce, the public etc will beleve us or back counter activity. But that never stopped committed public health professionals and their organised efforts in the past.

Competing interests: I am a public health professional who has worked closely with the lead author and we have worked on these issues for many years.

24 August 2012
Raymond J Lowry
Retired public health doctor and dentist
BMA member, FFPH
35 King Edward Road, Tynemouth, NE30 2RW