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Corporate power and the international trade regime preventing progressive policy action on non-communicable diseases: a realist review
Synthesize evidence of different forms and mechanisms of power active in trade and health decision-making spaces to understand better why NCD policy non-decisions persist and the implications for future transformative action
One hundred and four studies were included. Findings were presented for three key forms of power. Evidence indicates THCCs attempt to exercise instrumental power by extensive lobbying often via privileged access to trade and health decision-making spaces. When their legitimacy declines, THCCs have attempted to shift decision-making to more favourable international trade legal venues. THCCs benefit from structural power through the institutionalization of their involvement in health and trade agenda-setting processes. In terms of discursive power, THCCs effectively frame trade and health issues in ways that echo and amplify dominant neoliberal ideas. These processes may further entrench the individualization of NCDs, restrict conceivable policy solutions and perpetuate policymaking norms that privilege economic/trade interests over health. This review identifies different forms and mechanisms of power active in trade and health policy spaces that enable THCCs to prevent progressive action on NCDs. It also points to potential strategies for challenging these power dynamics and relations.
Milsom P, Smith R, Baker P, & Walls H
Health Policy and Planning