Undue influence from large transnational corporations infiltrate governments, while it has utmost importance that ministries of economy, trade, foreign affairs and agriculture regulate these businesses with public interest at forefront, as their policies have an impact on policy fields which voice is often not elevated in intersectoral policy making.
In her Mid-Term Review presentation, Dori Patay will present the early findings of her PhD research and will demonstrate the ways the persuading power of health can be strengthened when the commercial sector applies pressure on the government.
The Pacific Island Countries (PICs) are excellent example of how commercial influence on governments contribute to the noncommunicable disease (NCD) crisis. (1–12). Today more than 70% of all deaths around the world happen because of NCDs (13), and among global health experts it is a widely accepted fact that “economic, commercial and market factors contribute to the NCD burden and inequities and require […] strengthened regulatory systems and governance structures which identify and address conflicts of interest” (14).
A quarter of countries in the world are small island developing states, thus understanding how the governments of PICs handle commercial influence in intersectoral policy making in the case of regulating unhealthy commodity industries has a wide relevance to countries all around the world who struggle with NCDs or with undue commercial influence on its governance.
The learnings might also be applicable to fields where conflicts of interest and imbalance in persuading power influences policy making, such as environment and climate change, education, gender or youth affairs.
Dori Patay is a third year PhD Candidate at RegNet whose research focuses on the governance of the commercial determinants of non-communicable diseases, with using the case study of tobacco in Fiji and Vanuatu. Her supervisory panel includes Prof Sharon Friel (RegNet), Prof Jeff Collin (University of Edinburgh), Prof Susan Sell (RegNet), and Dr Ashley Schram (RegNet).
Dori holds a Bachelor’s degree in Physiotherapy, a Postgraduate degree on Health Care Services Management, and a Master’s degree on Public Health Policy, Planning and Financing. Her master’s research on the Hungarian tobacco control governance mechanisms was awarded as the thesis of the year at her university. After spending years in the private sector as a consultant, she changed direction when she became the Director of Civil and Humanitarian Affairs at the African Hungarian Union. Later she got involved as a junior expert in a bilateral collaborative agreement for health policy tasks between WHO Regional Office for Europe and the Hungarian Government in 2016. She was awarded a dual scholarship at RegNet in 2017 to conduct her PhD studies under the supervision of Prof Sharon Friel. Dori has recently returned from her fieldwork in Fiji and Vanuatu, and is currently in the progress of data analysis and writing up her dissertation.
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