September 19th, 2011

UN leader accuses big business of health cover-up

AFP

UN leader Ban Ki-moon Monday accused big business of putting public health at risk “to protect their own profits” as he launched a summit on everyday diseases killing tens of millions each year.

About 36 million people die each year from cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other non-communicable diseases and the UN is predicting an explosion in the death toll, particularly in poor countries in Africa.

Ban told the summit that governments had to launch prevention campaigns, but he singled out corporations who have been strongly attacked by health groups over their marketing of processed and sugar heavy foods.

“I depend on our friends in industry to do what is right,” the UN secretary general said.

Ban called himself “a champion of the private sector” but said “some hard truths” must be recognized.

“There is a well-documented and shameful history of certain players in industry who ignored the science—sometimes even their own research—and put public health at risk to protect their own profits.”

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