Dancing with the devil: UCT stubs out tobacco-funded unit

By Joan van Dyk

Despite calls by WHO calling on governments, organizations and public health community not to partner with the Philip Morris International (PMI) Foundation for a Smoke-Free World (FSFW), the University of Capetown Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health has agreed to receiving funding of over R1-million from the Foundation. The decision presents ethical concerns and was met with disapproval by tobacco control advocates and the broader university itself.  

In this article Joan van Dyk reports that similarly, the Stellenbosch Business school also reported accepting R-1.2 million for a project called “An Ethical Framework for Smoke-free World”. There is a good reason to be concerned about the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World’s motives. It is well known that PMI and the tobacco industry has long used third-party “research units” to conduct “independent research” to back industry claims.  The Africa Centre for Tobacco Industry Monitoring and Policy Research (ATIM) supports the decision by UCT to cancel the contract as it presents conflicts of interest that undermine public health and have implications for the scientific integrity of academic research on tobacco control.

For a full insight read the full article published HERE by Bhekisisa: Centre for Health Journalism.