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  • Health Inc: Corporations, capitalism, and commercial determinants of health (Seminar #3)

Health Inc: Corporations, capitalism, and commercial determinants of health (Seminar #3)

  • 26 Jan 2022
  • 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
  • Webinar


About Seminar Three

Title: Regulating corporations: The interface between corporations and the public sector

January 26th 12-1pm

Corporate activities including research, development, manufacturing, marketing, advertising, and sales are typically regulated, though the regulatory processes and requirements differ across jurisdictions. This is even more the case for corporations which manufacture health-related products such as pharmaceuticals, or products that may be harmful to health, such as tobacco and alcohol. Thus, the commercial determinants of health are in part, a complex product of the interactions between corporations and regulators.

In this seminar, we will have guest speakers detail their current research into the reactions and responses of corporations to regulatory actions. We will discuss key questions about the relative roles and responsibilities of corporations and regulators for population health and well-being.

For example, drug companies typically defend the use of their drugs when new safety problems are uncovered. Does the same apply to when drugs are removed from the market because of safety problems? This talk will examine this question from the Canadian point of view and secondarily look at whether the quality of the evidence leading to a withdrawal influences the responses from companies. Finally, the talk will raise the question of whether company responses affect how Health Canada deals with safety issues.

Similarly, regulating alcohol corporations is key to controlling alcohol consumption and harm because they have capacities to both influence the designs of and avoid the effects of alcohol control policies. Using three examples from Thailand, our guest speakers will discuss how alcohol companies can influence and benefit from alcohol taxation policy design and also adjust their alcohol advertising behaviours to avoid the effects of the alcohol advertising control law. We will discuss contemporary regulatory challenges including advertising via social media, which often crosses national boundaries and regulatory jurisdictions.


Joel Lexchin received his MD from the University of Toronto in 1977. He is a Professor Emeritus in the School of Health Policy and Management at York University in Toronto Canada where he taught health policy until 2016. In addition, he has worked in the emergency department at the University Health Network also in Toronto for over 33 years. He has published two books since 2016: Private Profits vs Public Policy: The Pharmaceutical Industry and the Canadian State (University of Toronto Press, 2016) and Doctors in Denial: Why Big Pharma and the Canadian Medical Profession Are Too Close for Comfort (Lorimer, 2017). He is a member of the Foundation Board of Health Action International.

Dr. Jürgen Rehm is Senior Scientist in the Institute for Mental Health Policy Research and in the Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute at CAMH. He is Professor and had been the Inaugural Chair of Addiction Policy in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, and he also holds professorships and positions in Germany, Spain and Russia.

Dr. Rehm has been a leader in generating and analyzing the scientific data needed to inform clinicians and policy-makers of strategies to reduce alcohol-, tobacco-, and other drug-attributable harm. His recent research has increasingly included interactions between socio-economic status, poverty and substance use, including analysis of policies and interventions with respect to reducing or increasing inequalities. His work has been awarded with numerous awards and prizes, most importantly, the Jellinek Memorial Award (2003), the European Addiction Research Award (2017) and the (Inaugural) Kettil Bruun Society Award for Advancement of International Research Collaboration (2021).

Dr. Bundit Sornpaisarn, MD, PhD, is a Project Scientist at the Institute for Mental Health Policy Research and an Assistant Professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto. He is also an adjunct staff at the Faculty of Public Health, Mahidol University, Thailand.

Dr.Sornpaisarn was the Director of Centre for Alcohol Studies, Thailand. He has been doing research on alcohol epidemiology and policy studies in Thailand for almost twenty years. He was one of the key players in advocating the first Thai alcohol control law (Alcoholic Beverage Control Act 2008 – ABCA) when he was the Director of Centre for Alcohol Studies and the Deputy Secretariat of the Parliamentarian Sub-Commission considering the ABCA Bill. He has also conducted several studies evaluating the impacts of the alcohol advertising control policy and the alcohol excise taxation in Thailand.

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