Brazil – Ethical guidelines against tobacco industry interference launched

The Brazilian Minister of Health has published 18 April an order establishing ethical guidelines for the members of the National Committee for WHO FCTC Implementation (CONICQ). The CONICQ is composed of representatives of 18 ministries and agencies at federal level and is responsible for implementing intersectoral policies to ensure that the country complies with the treaty. The Minister of Health is the president of the Committee.

The ethical guidelines state that the activities of the committee must be transparent and accountable, and highlight the fact that public health interests are irreconcilable with the interests of tobacco industry, in accordance with Article 5.3 of the WHO FCTC.

The guidelines stipulate that when a relationship between a government representative and the tobacco industry is necessary, it must be in the form of an official hearing, and the representative of the government must be accompanied by another public servant and prepare a record of the hearing, including the list of persons present and the subject matter.

In addition, the members cannot receive gifts and services from the tobacco industry, may not have research funded by the industry, and can only participate in events sponsored by the industry when that would be in the institutional interest of the agency concerned. In this last case the costs of the participation must be afforded by the Government and not by tobacco industry.

The purpose of the ethical guidelines is to prevent interference by the tobacco industry in public policies for tobacco control and ensure that the performance of CONICQ members is in line with the guidelines on Article 5.3 adopted by the third Conference of Parties. This important step is also directly related to the theme of World No Tobacco Day 2012.