Governments should regulate multinational companies that push tobacco, alcohol and highly processed food, to protect their citizens from preventable diseases, researchers say. Non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, asthma and diabetes are now the largest global health threat, and multinational companies selling unhealthy commodities are being blamed. Cancer, heart disease, stroke and respiratory diseases are the country's biggest killers, accounting for two-thirds of all deaths in 2009, according to the latest Ministry of Health figures. The paper Profits and pandemics: prevention of harmful effects of tobacco, alcohol, and ultra-processed food and drink industries found alcohol and food industries used similar strategies to the tobacco industry to undermine public health policies and programmes. It also found that industry self- regulation and public-private partnerships to improve health did not work. For this reason, governments had to intervene and make sure policy on NCD was not influenced by the companies that are feeding the epidemics, the paper said.
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