Table 3

Conditions for engaging in PPPs put forward by the authors

Type of conditionsQuotations from papers reviewed*
General principles, design and management of PPPs
  • Rename PPPs as public–private interactions or use similar, less value-laden terms, identify the category or subcategory of the interaction that best facilitates identification of conflicts of interest; and establish clear and effective institutional policies and measures that put the public interest at centre stage in all public private interactions.49

  • Partnerships should meet basic criteria32:

  • They should adhere to fundamental public health principles: human rights, ethics and equity.

  • They should lead to significant health gains.

  • The health gains should be worth the effort involved in establishing and maintaining the partnership.

  • They should establish appropriate checks and balances to align the financial interests of the industry with the goals of public health.39

  • All partners should adopt systematic and transparent accountability processes to navigate and manage 6 challenges: balance private commercial interests with public health interests, manage conflicts of interest and biases, ensure that co-branded activities support healthy products and healthy eating environments, comply with ethical codes of conduct, undertake due diligence to assess partnership compatibility, and monitor and evaluate partnership outcomes. There is also a need to develop accountability mechanisms that increase transparency and hold companies accountable for their marketing practices.33

  • Full-risk assessments need to be undertaken before partnerships are considered; these should review risk mitigation and management approaches and their effectiveness.27

  • The following issues should be addressed: clarify why engagement is needed—for what reason, and with what objectives, would different bodies need or want to engage with the private sector?; review evidence of the public health impact of different forms of interactions and of different types of activities; assess the risks posed by interactions, and review risk mitigation and management approaches and their effectiveness; identify areas to unlock the potential for further/future engagement on healthy eating and NCD, and areas not amenable to engagement given the inability to mitigate risks; and propose guidance for interaction at all levels.28

Criteria for partner selection, both type of industry/activity and individual companies
  • The industry involved must be a suitable partner: (1) are the major products and services provided by the industry health enhancing or health damaging?; (2) does the industry engage on a large scale in practices that are detrimental to health?; (3) does the industry acknowledge the harmful effects of some of their products?24

  • The company involved should meet some standards of behaviour24: (1) labour, health and safety conditions that the company adopts in its workplaces, particularly in the poorer countries where they operate; (2) the environmental commitment of the company; (3) the marketing and advertising practices of the company; (4) the research and development policy and practice of the company; (5) the regulatory compliance of the company and past activities.

Role of corporations
  • Governments should give priority to regulation of level playing fields before any PPPs.12

  • Corporations do not participate in policy-making. Unhealthy commodity industries should have no role in the formation of national or international policy for NCDs.46

  • Legitimate engagement with industry does not require that corporations be given a prominent seat at the policymaking table, but instead requires that conflicts of interest are actively managed within health policy.26

  • *Some quotations have been abridged for inclusion in the table.

  • NCD, non-communicable disease; PPP, public–private partnership.