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Author: Consumer Choice Center

Deputados europeus pedem que Congresso rejeite quebra de patentes

Dez deputados do Parlamento Europeu reforçaram nesta segunda-feira (14/3) ao Congresso Nacional a preocupação com a derrubada de um veto de Jair Bolsonaro à quebra de patentes de remédios e vacinas. Os parlamentares devem votar o assunto na terça-feira (15/3).

O documento foi encaminhado ao presidente do Senado, Rodrigo Pacheco, e ao presidente da Câmara, Arthur Lira. Em setembro, legisladores da União Europeia já haviam pedido que o Congresso mantivesse o veto de Bolsonaro publicado naquele mês, que trata de propriedade intelectual. Segundo o grupo, pode haver violação de segredos industriais se o veto for rejeitado. O pleito é apoiado pela Frente Parlamentar do Livre Mercado e pelo Consumer Choice Center.

Read the full article here

Ontario makes cannabis delivery and curbside pickup permanent

Ontario retailers were granted a temporary permit to offer cannabis delivery and pick-up services during the pandemic when alcohol and cannabis retail were deemed essential businesses.

Our Northern American Affairs Manager David Clement went a step further and argued in favor of making cannabis delivery permanent. According to him “It would significantly benefit retailers. But more importantly, it would benefit consumers by expanding and enhancing their options.”

We are happy to hear that the “provincial government has permanently green-lit the ability of cannabis retailers to offer delivery and curbside pickup services”. 

This is a step taken in the right direction but more needs to be done for making the cannabis delivery process smoother. There are a strict set of rules that need to be followed to comply with approved delivery or curbside pickup, and for now, third-party delivery is not permitted. 

Delivery can only be done by a retail store authorization holder or its employees, which makes it hard to keep up with the rising demand. Retailers aren’t equipped with the capital nor the expertise to operate a fleet of vehicles. The Ontario government should allow the use of third-party services to deliver, which we already permit for alcohol. Having a chance to outsource delivery to a third-party service, like delivery apps, gives legal retailers a leg up on the black market, which is still very prevalent.

February 2022

The world is in turmoil right now, but the Consumer Choice Center team is trying to stay positive and productive. Here’s what we have been up to this February.

Something’s holding back the Electric Vehicle Revolution..

David joined the video crew at Learn Liberty to try to answer some of the important questions about what is deterring mass adoption of electric vehicles. Make sure to watch the whole video, but here’s a little spoiler for you – dealer-franchise laws and higher registration fees than those on gasoline-powered vehicles. Government intervention, who would have thought?
 
WATCH HERE

Catch up with Consumer Choice Radio

This month, we have had some great episodes on Consumer Choice Radio. But I want to draw your attention to this particular one. In the first part, David and Yael discuss Freedom Convoy and the Canadian Conservative leadership race. Then, they’re joined by Joseph Annotti who reveals science on PFAS and argues that regulators should slow down their efforts to ban some of these vital products. 
LISTEN HERE

Colombia is giving Uber a hard time

Colombia and Uber have had turbulent relationship for the past 9 years. Just like in other parts of the world, Uber has seen great resistance from local taxi companies and drivers. This sharing economy platform remains illegal and passengers have to take a front seat to avoid unnecessary attention from police, which can result in fines and/or confiscation of the vehicle. Read our blogpost below to find out how these restrictions suppress entrepreneurial spirit and limit consumer choice.
READ MORE

75% vape tax? No, we didn’t miss the period

Alaska is proposing a 75% vape tax. Liz testified at the Alaska State Legislature’s Senate Finance Committee and on proposed tax and how that would be harmful to public health and consumer choice. She made sure the voice of consumers, who rely on vape products in their attempt to give up smoking, was heard. 
 
WATCH HERE

Let’s not go back to what farming once was!

Did you know that without pesticides, crop losses would be between 50 and 80%, which in turn would lead to higher food prices, and shortages leading to queues in front of supermarkets the likes of which we only experience in times of crisis. No one wants that right? Bill argues that rejecting the notion of using pesticides altogether and going “back to basics” will not only reduce the availability of products, but also fail to guarantee the safety of food.
READ HERE

Vape Flavours matter and CCC keeps fighting against their bans!

Vape flavours are the main draw for people looking to quit smoking, this is a fact and we’re here to fight against proposed bans whenever that might be. Yaël testified at the Maine State Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Health and Human Services on a proposed bill that would outlaw the sale of flavored vaping products, depriving adult smokers of less harmful options.
 
WATCH HERE
Thanks for sticking with us! As you can see it’s been quite a productive month! We have a lot of projects in progress, so make sure to follow our social media to be the first to know about them!

Editorial: Turning a blind eye

In a legislative session that is full of contentious issues, Iowa Republicans and Democrats found common ground on at least one thing recently: They love ethanol.

By an overwhelming margin, the Legislature passed a bill to force most retailers in the state to offer more E-15, a higher blend of ethanol than the usual E-10. Gov. Kim Reynolds has been pushing for such a requirement.

Since then, a few commentators in the state have questioned Iowa’s joined-at-the-hip ethanol policies, a tack taken by politicians in both parties. And some have suggested federal support for ethanol won’t last forever; that perhaps it’s time to prepare for the growth of electric vehicles.

Sitting here on the border of Iowa and Illinois, we have a unique vantage point on this question. Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker has gone all-in on electric vehicles, pushing through a package of state incentives last year and cheering on the Biden administration’s efforts in this area.

Pritzker has proudly proclaimed that he wants the state to be the “Silicon Valley” of the EV industry.

In Iowa, you won’t hear that from the top echelons of government.

Iowa continues to maintain policies that are barriers to EV expansion. In a column for the Des Moines Register last year, analysts for the Consumer Choice Center said Iowa was tied for last on an index for electric vehicle accessibility.

Read the full article here

¿Por qué es un error la guerra contra la nicotina?

Los gobiernos alrededor del mundo continúan declarando guerras sin fundamentos, ilógicas y que terminan causando graves daños a los individuos de la sociedad. Una de estas guerras es la poco conocida pero extremadamente padecida “guerra contra las drogas”, iniciada en los años setenta y continuada por prolongadas administraciones de los Estados Unidos con la finalidad de perseguir la producción, el consumo y el comercio de ciertas sustancias psicoactivas, generando con ello un caos de narcoviolencia a lo largo de América Latina (un proceso similar al que se vio en Estados Unidos en los años veinte, tras la famosa “Ley Seca” o la prohibición del alcohol, que desencadenó en la aparición de personalidades como Al Capone, mafias y violencia).

La prohibición del alcohol en los Estados Unidos fue un completo desastre que condujo a un mayor consumo de alcohol, un consumo no seguro, y generó enormes cárteles. La guerra contra las drogas en todo el mundo es un completo fracaso y en muchos casos resultó en políticas contraproducentes. Restringir o incluso prohibir la nicotina para adultos impulsará las actividades del mercado negro y, al mismo tiempo, aumentará el consumo de productos ya prohibidos. 

Sigamos los ejemplos de política pública que han dado buenos resultados, como es el caso de Portugal, un país que ha despenalizado todas las drogas y en los últimos veinte años incluso ha reducido los niveles de consumo, llegando a ser uno de los países de la Unión Europea con menor consumo de drogas como la heroína.

La equivocada guerra contra la nicotina

Este detalle trae a colación el informe publicado recientemente por el Consumer Choice Center y la World Vapers’ Alliance, donde hacen énfasis en la declarada guerra contra la nicotina, señalando que hay razones empíricas para acabar con dicha guerra. Durante décadas, la nicotina ha sido sinónimo de fumar. Esto hizo que la mayoría de la gente creyera que la nicotina per se es la razón principal de los efectos negativos para la salud causados ​​por fumar. Si bien está claro que la mayoría de las personas no deberían comenzar a consumir nicotina si aún no lo hacen, es hora de evaluar la nicotina de manera total.

“le han quitado a los consumidores la capacidad de elegir un método alternativo que podría ayudarlos a dejar un producto que causa todavía mayores daños a la salud”.

Como todas las guerras contra todo tipo de sustancias, esta guerra contra la nicotina ignora la evidencia científica. El Servicio Nacional de Salud Británico, que sigue un enfoque pragmático hacia el consumo de nicotina y el vapeo, afirma que “si bien la nicotina es la sustancia adictiva de los cigarrillos, es relativamente inofensiva. Casi todo el daño por fumar proviene de los miles de otros químicos en el humo del tabaco, muchos de los cuales son tóxicos”.

Los expertos están de acuerdo en que, a lo que al tabaquismo respecta, el enemigo es el humo y no la nicotina. Lo que debería llevarnos a preguntar: ¿cómo colaboramos a que las personas dejen de fumar?

Gobiernos nacionales o estatales a lo largo del mundo le han dado una respuesta (errónea y carente de respaldo científico) a dicha pregunta. ¿La solución? Pues prohibir los métodos alternativos para dejar de fumar, como por ejemplo el vapeo, que han ayudado a muchas personas a dejar el cigarrillo tradicional. Esto a pesar de que los datos muestran que los riesgos del vapeo y del tabaco son muy diferentes.

Así lo han hecho estados como Michigan y Massachusetts en los Estados Unidos, prohibiendo el acto de vapear o los productos de vapeo, mientras han dejado los cigarrillos tradicionales en venta libre. El problema aquí no es que “tampoco han prohibido el cigarrillo tradicional”, sino que le han quitado a los consumidores la capacidad de elegir un método alternativo que podría ayudarlos a dejar un producto que causa todavía mayores daños a la salud.

Cabe remarcar que esto no es una apología de las drogas, de la nicotina, del cigarrillo o de lo que fuera. Es, simplemente, como lo señaló el autor Thomas Szasz (1920-2012), “el derecho a consumir”.

En el informe titulado “War on Nicotine” se señalan seis razones por las cuales la guerra contra la nicotina debe terminar: 

  1. La gente consume nicotina, pero fallece por fumar tabaco.
  2. La nicotina en parches y chicles no es un problema; tampoco debería serlo en una bolsa o un vaporizador.
  3. La adicción es compleja y no se resolverá combatiendo la nicotina.
  4. La nicotina tiene beneficios terapéuticos.
  5. La concepción errónea de la nicotina obstaculiza el progreso.
  6. La prohibición nunca funciona.

Gracias a la innovación, el consumo de nicotina puede por fin desvincularse de los efectos peligrosos del tabaquismo y, por tanto, ayudar a millones de fumadores a mejorar su salud. No obstante, la nicotina es demonizada. Lo mismo sucede con el vapeo, que, “como puede contener nicotina”, hay que prohibirlo. Entonces, ¿por qué los chicles y parches, que por cierto contienen nicotina, no son prohibidos? 

¿Cuál es la solución?

El punto está en que no hay que prohibir, hay que permitir y respetar la plena libertad del consumidor y del que quiere buscar métodos alternativos como el vapeo para dejar de fumar, así como encabezar campañas desde organizaciones de la sociedad civil para ayudar a concientizar sobre los daños que causa a la salud el acto de fumar.

Como señala Vaping Today, “defendamos la reducción de daños para salvar vidas y opongámonos al paternalismo que priva a los consumidores de la posibilidad de elegir”.

Reducir el número de fumadores y permitirles cambiar de forma rápida y eficaz a una alternativa menos perjudicial debería ser una de las principales prioridades de los gobiernos y los organismos de salud pública de todo el mundo. Por este motivo, nos tocará seguir insistiendo en acabar con las incongruentes prohibiciones al vapeo y a cualquier otra alternativa que ayude a la gente. Menos prohibiciones, más soluciones.

Originally published here

Weathering change: why governments must prioritise innovation

Innovation is a fuel that powers the most successful private-sector organisations. Their relentless pursuit of new products, processes and systems in a bid to compete has made private companies synonymous with agility, progression and proactivity. By injecting the same level of innovation into the public sector, governments can drive efficiency, reduce expenditure and navigate crises.

The pandemic has left some countries and governments at sea. It has exposed the need for more resilient government models that can act quickly and decisively. Technology such as big data analytics, drones and artificial intelligence can inform and support decision-making while also helping to implement policies and measure their success.

“Government innovation is the foundation of every development and an engine of creating the future,” says Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai. “I believe that the UAE has a lot of experience and expertise to share in this field.”

In January, the UAE was ranked first globally for its Covid-19 response and resilience by the Pandemic Resilience Index 2022, which is funded by US-based advocacy group Consumer Choice Centre. And as we emerge from the health crisis, our economy is also demonstrating a solid recovery.

Read the full article here

RE-WORKING SUPPLY CHAINS REQUIRES THINKING DIFFERENTLY

Marketers, manufacturers and even the media have been keeping tabs on all things related to logistics like never before. Coverage of supply chain matters practically doubled in 2020 and media messaging for 2021 spiked towards the end of the year, referring to both bottlenecks and backlogs that created a supply chain crisis that hampered holiday shopping sprees.

The hashtag #emptyshelvesJoe trended on Twitter while Amazon, Target and Walmartrolled out the holiday deals early to curtail any looming delays.

Now, at the start of 2022, it seems concerns are heightened as new problems and new political pressures are bubbling to the surface. Businesses are realising now more than ever just how dependent they are on ensuring supplies and shipments in addition to making sales.

Read the full article here

The electric vehicle industry is booming in Kentucky. Will ownership follow?

Daniel Monroe has let more than 275 people sit behind the wheel of his 2018 Tesla Model 3 and experience what he calls the “transformative effect” of driving on an electromagnetic field. 

“People hit that accelerator and they go, ‘Whoa,’” said Monroe, president of Evolve KY, a group that advocates for electric vehicles in.

Letting people drive his Tesla is one way Monroe hopes to create converts in a state that consistently ranks near the bottom nationally in EV ownership and infrastructure. “My car can’t save the planet staying in my driveway,” he said.

For nearly a decade, Evolve KY has done its part to increase EV ownership in Kentucky, most notably, installing 91 EV chargers around the state. But Kentucky remains one of the least EV-friendly states. 

Last summer, Bumper.com, a vehicle data website, ranked Kentucky 45th in the U.S. for owning an electric vehicle. It said the state is third worst in the nation for charging stations per 100,000 residents and in the bottom five for electric vehicle infrastructure.

“Kentucky is not alone in this regard—many states in the region are lagging in the adoption of EVs and the necessary infrastructure to support them,” said Bumper.com spokesperson Kerry Sherin.

A similar study from the insurance comparison app Jerry placed Kentucky in the bottom three states for owning an EV and the Consumer Choice Center rated EVs as “barely accessible” in Kentucky. 

Read the full article here

January 2022

While it was a blue month, January has been productive for us at the CCC team. New advisers and fellows, TV show appearances, the release of our highly anticipated Pandemic Resilience Index 2022 – and much more!So let’s see what exactly we’ve been up to!

 

New advisers joining the CCC

We are thrilled to announce that Lord Wharton and Alexander Kvitashvili have joined us as advisers. We are confident their exceptional expertise will help us elevate the voice of consumers. Read what the new advisers have to say about joining the CCC!
READ MORE

Pandemic Resilience Index 2022

The Pandemic Resilience Index 2022 has a newly crowned champion. After being ranked second on last year’s index, the UAE tops the chart, closely followed by Cyprus. The change in the ranking is largely due to booster vaccine rollout delays. Want to know how your country ranks in terms of the health system’s resilience to Covid-19 and similar crises? 
READ MORE

The CCC team is growing! 

The CCC team is growing and we are excited to welcome Simon Lee as a new policy fellow who will be focusing on Taiwan issues. In the past twenty-five years, government, public institutions, and private enterprises seek his assessments, analyses, and strategic advice on economic and regulatory issues. We’re excited to have him as part of our team and looking forward to seeing all the great work he will undertake for consumer choice. 
READ MORE

Smoking numbers are rising and we know just who to blame for this

Yaël wrote this fire of a blogpost addressing the reasons behind the recent spike in smoking numbers. Science says vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking and a great tool for smokers looking to quit (and we have millions of vapers around the world who can attest to it). Unfortunately,  the public health lobby’s persistent denialism of harm reduction and their stance against vape and other harm-reducing alternatives to cigarettes has been extremely harmful. If we want to reclaim a true public health victory and help smokers quit to give them long and fruitful lives, it is time to cast aside this aversion to the innovations of the market. 

 
READ MORE

Crop protection products that keep food safe and affordable – and that’s a fact

In his latest article, Bill debunks myths used as arguments by a Belgian environmentalist NGO. A ban on crop protection tools threatens the livelihood of farmers, the food security of European countries, and can further increase food prices that are already affected by inflation. With the rising population we can’t afford a drop in food productivity!
READ HERE

David on Counterpoint but this time as a guest host!

David has made multiple appearances on Counterpoint, discussing pressing issues concerning Canada, and this month he even got to host the TV show. As a guest host, he was joined by economist Ash Navabi and secondstreet.org President Colin Craig for an honest assessment of Canada’s fragile front line healthcare system and whether a private healthcare option might actually help.
WATCH HERE
That’s a wrap for this month! We’re excited to see what this year has to offer. Make sure to follow us on social media for all the great updates!

December 2021

Happy Holidays!
As we approach the end of 2021, we’d like to recap some of our favorite moments from this busy and successful year in consumer choice activism! 

31 000 members worldwide

The Consumer Choice Center has been around for 4 years now! We have been featured in hundreds of news outlets around the globe and this year alone we had more than 1000 media hits! It seems like our work hasn’t gone unnoticed, as our member count keeps increasing daily and so far we can boast 31,000 members worldwide! We feel honored that you have chosen us to work with you to defend your consumer choice!

CCC Among the Best New Think Tanks

We had a great start to this year. We were announced as one of the best new think tanks by Wharton University of Pennsylvania. The Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) examines the evolving role and character of public policy research organizations and aims to acknowledge the important contributions and emerging global trends of think tanks worldwide. This recognition has definitely given us even more motivation to keep fighting for a cause so dear to all of us!
READ MORE

Research must go on!

This year has been the most fruitful in terms of new research! Policy notes on Deconstructing the War on Plastics, Dental Insurance, Sharing Economy Index 2021, Pandemic Resilience Index, policy note on Smart Crypto Regulation. These are just a few of the topics we worked on and our research manager Maria tops the chart with 7 publications that she co-authored this year! Make sure to check out the full list of our publications
 
READ MORE

Yael’s and David’s radio show going strong!

Yael and David started their modest radio show back in 2020 and little did they know they’d soon become hosts of the internationally syndicated radio show, now with more than 100 episodes under their belt. Our weeks have definitely become more enjoyable listening to all the interesting topics they discuss with top experts from various fields! If you haven’t already, make sure to give the radio show a follow on Twitter and be sure to subscribe to the podcast version!
FOLLOW HERE

Policy victories

 This spring a new law was proposed in Mexico, that would require a national audiovisual content quota of 15%. We hosted a successful webinar and entire online campaign discussing the negative effects this policy would have on consumers that caught the attention of dozens of local news outlets. Thankfully the law has been delayed and Mexican consumers still have an opportunity to choose what to watch from the vast streaming catalog.  

Up north in Canada, our Northern American Affairs manager David has advocated for the allowance of paid plasma donation and we’re happy to see that Alberta will no longer be depending on foreign import of this valuable resource. Here’s to hoping other provinces follow Alberta’s lead. 

In Europe, the European Parliament recently voted to support reducing the harm caused by smoking. We have published multiple studies on the importance of embracing harm reduction and we’re happy to see that European consumers will not be denied the opportunity to switch to less harmful alternatives to cigarettes.
READ MORE

CCC team keeps growing

The year 2021 has been a year of growth for us. We welcomed 4 new staffers and 8 new fellows onto our very international team! We are excited to watch the team grow and are always on the lookout for new talent!
GET TO KNOW US

The ConsEUmer podcast among the best EU podcasts!

The ConsEUmer Podcast, hosted by our senior policy analyst Bill, was named as one of the best European Union Podcasts of 2021. The podcast offers insightful commentary on the hottest EU related topics and features experts and policy makers from various fields. We’re excited to see the podcast receive the recognition it truly deserves!
CATCH UP HERE

Staff Retreat in Venice

Working from 4 different continents and multiple timezones, we’re always looking forward to seeing each other in person, outside traditional zoom calls. We wrapped the year 2021 in Venice during our third staff retreat of the year and took time to plan out our strategy for the upcoming year. We have a lot of plans, so keep an eye on our social media channels for the upcoming projects and campaigns!
Thanks for sticking with us throughout this eventful and challenging year. The fight continues and we will surely be on the front lines of defending your freedom to choose.

Christmas Bonus: we created our version of the classic poem from Clement Clarke Moore, “Twas a Night Before Christmas” from 1822 

 
LISTEN HERE
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