The case for defunding the WHO

COMMENT CENTRAL: Bill Wirtz believes there is no need for taxpayers to be continuously patronised by WHO health experts. It’s time to defund the WHO.

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About Bill Wirtz

Bill Wirtz is policy analyst for the Consumer Choice Center, based in Brussels, Belgium. Originally from Luxembourg, his articles have appeared across the world in English, French, German, and Luxembourgish. He is Editor-in-Chief of Speak Freely, the blog of European Students for Liberty, a contributing editor for the Freedom Today Network and a regular contributor for the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE). He blogs regularly on his website in four languages.

Five reasons to rethink Britain’s public health spending

By Fred Roeder and Chloe Westley

With a combined budget of over 100 million pounds, taxpayers in the United Kingdom are some of the largest contributors to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) budget. Britain also spends nearly 1 billion pounds on various other bilateral public health initiatives around the globe. Unfortunately, many of these projects are not improving people’s health or dealing with global pandemics. Instead, this money is wasted on inflated and decadent bureaucracies and ideological projects.

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About Fred Roeder

Fred Roder has been working in the field of grassroots activism for over eight years. He is a Health Economist from Germany and has worked in healthcare reform and market access in North America, Europe, and several former Soviet Republics. One of his passions is to analyze how disruptive industries and technologies allow consumers more choice at a lower cost. Fred is very interested in consumer choice and regulatory trends in the following industries: FMCG, Sharing Economy, Airlines. In 2014 he organized a protest in Berlin advocating for competition in the Taxi market. Fred has traveled to 100 countries and is looking forward to visiting the other half of the world’s countries. Among many op-eds and media appearances, he has been published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Wirtschaftswoche, Die Welt, the BBC, SunTV, ABC Portland News, Montreal Gazette, Handelsblatt, Huffington Post Germany, CityAM. L’Agefi, and The Guardian. Since 2012 he serves as an Associated Researcher at the Montreal Economic Institute.

USA gegen WHO-Zuckersteuern

NOVO ARGUMENTE: Die Trump-Regierung blockiert innerhalb der Weltgesundheitsorganisation die Forderung nach einer Zuckersteuer. Gut so, denn eine solche Steuer ist paternalistisch und gegen die Armen gerichtet.

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About Bill Wirtz

Bill Wirtz is policy analyst for the Consumer Choice Center, based in Brussels, Belgium. Originally from Luxembourg, his articles have appeared across the world in English, French, German, and Luxembourgish. He is Editor-in-Chief of Speak Freely, the blog of European Students for Liberty, a contributing editor for the Freedom Today Network and a regular contributor for the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE). He blogs regularly on his website in four languages.

Trump administration blocks WHO from calling for sugar taxes

WASHINGTON EXAMINER: In a new report, the World Health Organization fails to endorse higher taxes on sugar in order to fight noncommunicable diseases. For the last two years, the U.N. body has been calling for even higher sugar taxes, which would lead to reduced consumption and therefore better overall public health. However, the WHO advocates are not only horrifyingly patronizing, they’re also flat-out wrong. The Trump administration seems to have caught on to that, and does not support a regressive and patronizing tax, supported by elitists such as Michael Bloomberg.

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About Bill Wirtz

Bill Wirtz is policy analyst for the Consumer Choice Center, based in Brussels, Belgium. Originally from Luxembourg, his articles have appeared across the world in English, French, German, and Luxembourgish. He is Editor-in-Chief of Speak Freely, the blog of European Students for Liberty, a contributing editor for the Freedom Today Network and a regular contributor for the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE). He blogs regularly on his website in four languages.

Plain packaging: ‘Brand-theft’ or better consumer protection?

EURACTIV: The rising trend of imposing plain packaging on unhealthy products has raised eyebrows in the industry, which fears that its brands are under threat. The World Health Organisation, on the other hand, insists that the measure provides a long-term benefit for public health.

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About Fred Roeder

Fred Roder has been working in the field of grassroots activism for over eight years. He is a Health Economist from Germany and has worked in healthcare reform and market access in North America, Europe, and several former Soviet Republics. One of his passions is to analyze how disruptive industries and technologies allow consumers more choice at a lower cost. Fred is very interested in consumer choice and regulatory trends in the following industries: FMCG, Sharing Economy, Airlines. In 2014 he organized a protest in Berlin advocating for competition in the Taxi market. Fred has traveled to 100 countries and is looking forward to visiting the other half of the world’s countries. Among many op-eds and media appearances, he has been published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Wirtschaftswoche, Die Welt, the BBC, SunTV, ABC Portland News, Montreal Gazette, Handelsblatt, Huffington Post Germany, CityAM. L’Agefi, and The Guardian. Since 2012 he serves as an Associated Researcher at the Montreal Economic Institute.

Make e-cigarettes available to fight tobacco cancer: Experts

DECCAN HERALD: Jeff Stier, a senior fellow with the pro-e-cigarettes advocacy group Consumer Choice Center (CCC) said, “The ACS took a step in the right direction by recognising this important harm-reduction method.”

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About Jeff Stier

Jeff Stier is a Senior Fellow at the Consumer Choice Center. Mr. Stier has been a frequent guest on CNBC, and has addressed health policy on CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, as well as network newscasts. He is a guest on over 100 radio shows a year, including on NPR and top-rated major market shows in cities including Boston, Philadelphia, and Sacramento, plus syndicated regional broadcasts. Jeff’s op-eds have been published in top outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, Forbes, The Washington Examiner, and National Review Online.

The WHO Should Embrace Vaping and Harm Reduction on World No Tobacco Day

AMBULANCE TODAY: May 31st marks World No Tobacco Day. This year the World Health Organization highlights “tobacco and heart disease” and pledges to highlight policies that help to reduce tobacco consumption.

The Consumer Choice Center’s Managing Director, Fred Roeder, applauds the WHO for its focus on fighting cardiovascular diseases and the health impact of tobacco consumption, but points out the WHO missed an opportunity to promote effective policies reducing the health risks of tobacco consumption.

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About Jeff Stier

Jeff Stier is a Senior Fellow at the Consumer Choice Center. Mr. Stier has been a frequent guest on CNBC, and has addressed health policy on CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, as well as network newscasts. He is a guest on over 100 radio shows a year, including on NPR and top-rated major market shows in cities including Boston, Philadelphia, and Sacramento, plus syndicated regional broadcasts. Jeff’s op-eds have been published in top outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, Forbes, The Washington Examiner, and National Review Online.

World No Tobacco Day 2018, here’s why you should switch to e-cigarettes

HINDUSTAN TIMES:  Jeff Stier, a senior fellow with the pro-e-cigarettes advocacy group Consumer Choice Center (CCC) said, “The ACS took a step in the right direction by recognising this important harm-reduction method.”

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About Jeff Stier

Jeff Stier is a Senior Fellow at the Consumer Choice Center. Mr. Stier has been a frequent guest on CNBC, and has addressed health policy on CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, as well as network newscasts. He is a guest on over 100 radio shows a year, including on NPR and top-rated major market shows in cities including Boston, Philadelphia, and Sacramento, plus syndicated regional broadcasts. Jeff’s op-eds have been published in top outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, Forbes, The Washington Examiner, and National Review Online.

Il est temps d’abolir l’OMS

LA CHRONIQUE AGORA: Les dérives de cette organisation dispendieuse et idéologique sont nombreuses et des organismes non gouvernementaux opèrent plus efficacement dans le domaine de la santé. Alors que la crise Ebola ravageait des pays africains en 2014, nous faisions confiance  à un certain nombre d’organisations internationales pour aider les pays d’Afrique occidentale tels que le Libéria, la Sierra Leone, la Guinée ou le Nigéria, afin d’endiguer la propagation du virus et porter assistance à ceux qui ne pouvaient recevoir des soins médicaux.

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About Bill Wirtz

Bill Wirtz is policy analyst for the Consumer Choice Center, based in Brussels, Belgium. Originally from Luxembourg, his articles have appeared across the world in English, French, German, and Luxembourgish. He is Editor-in-Chief of Speak Freely, the blog of European Students for Liberty, a contributing editor for the Freedom Today Network and a regular contributor for the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE). He blogs regularly on his website in four languages.

Our Comment on WHO Independent High-Level Commission Report on Non-Communicable Diseases

LINKED ON WHO WEBSITE

From:    Jeff Stier, Consumer Choice Center (NGO)

To:         WHO Independent High-level Commission

Date:   13 May, 2018

Re:      Comments on Draft Report

The Consumer Choice Center shares the sentiment of the draft report of the WHO INDEPENDENT HIGH-LEVEL COMMISSION ON NON-COMMUNICABLE DISEASES that “a fresh working relationship must be established” with a wide range of industries to promote health and behavior change.

We believe that the best way to promote health is to recognize the role of individual choices made by consumers and foster robust private sector activity that makes it easier for consumers to make better choices. Advances in public health require partnership between the private and public sector. History shows that improvements in public health are driven by innovation in a wide range of sectors. As such, while a positive and collaborative working relationship must be established with industries including food, non-alcoholic beverages and restaurants, all industries must be treated as allies, employing their knowledge and incentive for profit to promote health. 

For instance, innovation in the alcohol industry has the potential to lower mortality related to alcohol abuse. But despite scientific advances making this possible, industry has yet to embrace the approach. As Dr. David Nutt, professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London, and the chair of DrugScience.org.uk wrote in The Guardian in 2013,  “before we can sober up in minutes, the drinks industry needs to embrace this healthier approach.” 

While abstinence is the safest approach, the public health community should also embrace lower-risk options for those who do not abstain. 

The commission is well-aware of the public health gains achieved from the application of harm-reduction in areas including clean needle exchange and condom use. 

The draft report properly points to another area where gains should and must be made given the disease and death caused by smoking. However, the report strikingly fails to distinguish between different forms of tobacco use. Indeed, the type of tobacco use responsible for the vast majority of the harm caused by tobacco is not even mentioned once in the draft report.  The report does not use the word “smoking” or “cigarettes” even once.

The draft report should be revised to recognize the difference in risk between non-combustible tobacco products and the deadly cigarette. The astounding fact that the rate of cigarette smoking in Sweden, where snus is often used instead of cigarettes, is down below 5 percent, and tobacco-related diseases are correspondingly low, should be a wakeup call to those who are resistant to recognizing the promise of tobacco harm reduction. 

Noncombustible tobacco, e-cigarettes, and other forms of nicotine delivery that can replace the combustible cigarette for those who are otherwise unable or unwilling to quit using nicotine should be seen as allies, not threats, to public health.  Consumers should understand that these products should be used exclusively by smokers, and despite their significant lower-risk profile as compared to cigarettes, are still not free of risk.

Regulations, taxes, and public awareness campaigns must all recognize the difference in risk between different products, recognizing that the most important difference between products is whether or not the product delivers nicotine through combustion.

Gains in this area will require that government agencies, public health organizations, and industry put aside their differences to focus on helping consumers reduce the harm they cause themselves and others when they smoke cigarettes.

 Finally, it is important to note that consumers, the very public that the public health community seeks to help, are often left out of policy discussions that affect them, and require their engagement.

We believe that when making lifestyle choices, consumers make decisions based on a number of individual factors, one of which includes what is best for their own health. But a wise choice for one individual may be an unrealistic choice for another. As such, we believe that consumers are best-positioned to make decisions about their own health and the choices they make.

We believe that consumers, and public health as a whole, will benefit when industry is incentivized to innovate, giving consumers more choices to make decisions that are in their best interest.

Sincerely,

Jeff Stier

Senior Fellow

Consumer Choice Center

Washington, DC

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About Jeff Stier

Jeff Stier is a Senior Fellow at the Consumer Choice Center. Mr. Stier has been a frequent guest on CNBC, and has addressed health policy on CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, as well as network newscasts. He is a guest on over 100 radio shows a year, including on NPR and top-rated major market shows in cities including Boston, Philadelphia, and Sacramento, plus syndicated regional broadcasts. Jeff’s op-eds have been published in top outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, Forbes, The Washington Examiner, and National Review Online.