NEW DELHI: The Alliance Against Conflict of Interest has strongly objected to the country’s top health agency, the Indian Council of Medical Research, conducting a survey on consumption of sugar, sponsored by the International Life Sciences Institute, which is the lobbying arm of the food industry.
AACI is an alliance of organisations and individuals working in various sectors - doctors, lawyers, women’s and children’s health groups.
In its letter written to the ICMR and the National Institute of Nutrition under it-the two institutes carrying out the survey, funded by the private body, the alliance called it an “incompatible partnership” and said that “ILSI has been pursuing policy influence in India and elsewhere, in particular, with respect to sugary foods and beverages.”
“We wonder what strategic direction ICMR-NIN, the premier research agency of India, is giving to the people of India when this survey’s findings projected in the media may potentially perpetuate more sugar consumption while pretending to be concerned about non- communicable diseases,” the letter by the alliance said.
The alliance has asked the ICMR to respond to questions such as conclusions of the study, how was a conflict of interest managed and plans to use this study for policy development in public interest.
AACI said that it is concerned about increasing non-communicable disease burden in India and urged that the government must follow the principles that have been compiled in a recent Lancet analysis on the double burden of malnutrition.