“The emails were between Barbara Bowman, Ph.D. director of the CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, and Dr. Alex Malaspina, a former Coca-Cola scientific and regulatory affairs leader and the founder of a food industry-funded group, International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI).
They allegedly show Bowman’s multiple attempts to aid Malaspina’s relationship with WHO leaders whose actions (think soda tax) were hurting the beverage industry.
According to the report, Bowman — whose job is to try to help prevent obesity, diabetes and other health problems — ‘appeared happy to help the beverage industry cultivate political sway with the World Health Organization.'”
“[T]he fact that a high-level U.S. health official is communicating in this way with a beverage industry leader appears improper,” adding the emails “suggest that ILSI, Coca-Cola and researchers funded by Coca-Cola have an ‘in’ with a prominent CDC official.
The official appears to be interested in helping these groups organize opposition to ‘eat less sugar’ and ‘disclose industry funding’ recommendations.
The invitation to dinner suggests a cozy relationship … This appearance of conflict of interest is precisely why policies for engagement with industry are needed for federal officials.”
“Alex Malaspina was able to ask for and receive regular input and guidance from a top official at the … CDC on how to address actions by the World Health Organization that were hurting the food and beverage industry.
The emails … reveal that … Bowman … tried to help Malaspina find inroads to influence WHO officials to back off anti-sugar talk. Bowman suggested people and groups for Malaspina to talk to, and solicited his comments on some CDC summaries of reports … “