Scientific Article
Big Alcohol Supplanting Government Role In Alcohol Policies In Sub‐Saharan Africa

Øystein Bakke (e-mail:, Dag Endal
Bakke, Ø. and Endal, D. (2010), Vested Interests in Addiction Research and Policy Alcohol policies out of context: drinks industry supplanting government role in alcohol policies in sub‐Saharan Africa. Addiction, 105: 22-28. doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.2009.02695.x
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    Addiction, Society for the Study of Addiction
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Vested Interests in Addiction Research and PolicyAlcohol policies out of context: drinks industry supplanting government role in alcohol policies in sub‐Saharan Africa

Research article



In this paper, the researchers describe an analysis of alcohol policy initiatives sponsored by alcohol producer SABMiller and the International Center on Alcohol Policies, an alcohol industry‐funded organization. In a number of sub‐Saharan countries these bodies have promoted a ‘partnership’ role with governments to design national alcohol policies.


A comparison was conducted of four draft National Alcohol Policy documents from Lesotho, Malawi, Uganda and Botswana using case study methods.


The comparison indicated that the four drafts are almost identical in wording and structure and that they are likely to originate from the same source.


The processes and the draft policy documents reviewed provide insights into the methods, as well as the strategic and political objectives of the multi‐national alcohol industry.

This initiative reflects the alcohol industry’s preferred version of a national alcohol policy. The alcohol industry policy vision ignores, or chooses selectively from, the international evidence base on alcohol prevention developed by independent alcohol researchers and disregards or minimizes a public health approach to alcohol problems.

The policies reviewed maintain a narrow focus on the economic benefits from the trade in alcohol. In terms of alcohol problems (and their remediation) the documents focus upon individual alcohol users, ignoring effective environmental interventions. The proposed policies serve the alcohol industry’s interests at the expense of public health by attempting to enshrine ‘active participation of all levels of the beverage alcohol industry as a key partner in the policy formulation and implementation process’.

Source Website: Wiley Online Library