An Overview of the Commercial Determinants of Health
Different terms are described in the literature that refer to commercial determinants as drivers of ill-health. The aim of the present review was to provide an overview of the commercial determinants of health, through a review of the literature on this subject. The review was conducted in December 2019 and updated in February 2020. Searches were conducted from peer-reviewed scientific articles, commentaries, books, and books chapters, with no restriction in their publication dates and languages.
The commercial determinants of health cover three areas. First, they relate to unhealthy commodities that are contributing to ill-health. Secondly, they include business, market and political practices that are harmful to health and used to sell these commodities and secure a favourable policy environment. Finally, they include the global drivers of ill-health, such as market-driven economies and globalisation, that have facilitated the use of such harmful practices.
The discussion on the commercial determinants of health offers a unique opportunity to shift the dominant paradigm in public health, where individual behaviours are considered to be driven by inadequate environments. Ill-health, damages to the environment, and health and social inequalities, might be better understood through a commercial determinant lens.