British-based researchers who closely examined alcohol industry submissions to a 2008 Scottish government consultation on “Changing Scotland’s relationship with alcohol” have distilled the arguments presented and contend that they misrepresent the scientific evidence and should not be considered persuasive. Jim McCambridge, et al., “Industry Use of Evidence to Influence Alcohol Policy: A Case Study of Submissions to the 2008 Scottish Government Consultation,” PLOS Medicine, April 2013.
Observing that industry actors “consistently oppose whole-population approaches, . . . favouring instead targeted interventions that focus on a supposedly problematic minority of drinkers and emphasising the role of individual responsibility,” and faulting their use of relevant research literature, the authors “suggest that the public interest is not served by industry actors’ involvement in the interpretation of research evidence” and that “[c]ommercial conflicts of interest should be made explicit.” They further warn policy makers to “treat industry actors’ interpretation of research evidence with extreme caution.”