When the debate over cigarette packaging started the tobacco control lobby was very quick to finger some MPs - like Oliver Colville, for example - who had attended the Chelsea Flower Show on 'big tobacco's' ticket. A fair cop, I'm sure you'll agree.
Well I've another fair cop for you. Yesterday the airwaves were filled with details from a report published by the Alcohol Abuse All-party Parliamentary Group (APPG). This rehashed, courtesy of Alcohol Concern (who provide the secretariat for ths APPG), a lot of previously published proposals from the temperance lobby. This, of course, explains how that lobby was so swift to issue appropriately supportive press releases.
However, underneath all this smiling care and consideration is a link with a Danish pharmaceutical business called Lundbeck. The UK arm of this multinational business funds the work of the Alcohol Abuse APPG. Indeed if you google the connection between Tracey Crouch MP (or for that matter Ian Gilmore, the leading liver surgeon and temperance campaigner) you will find that, time and time again, they appear on a platform funded by Lundbeck or subsidiaries of Lundbeck.
So what is Lundbeck's interest in all this? Quite simply it wants to push its products and is using the MPs and doctors to do just that:
Selincro (nalmefene) was approved at the end of February and is the first new treatment for alcohol dependence in Europe for more than a decade. Lundbeck noted that the drug, a dual-acting opioid system modulator that acts on the brain’s motivational system, will be launched in other countries later this year and in 2014.
Now I'm sure Selincro is a perfectly fine product but it's pretty clear that the public health lobby should not allow itself to be captured in this way by commercial interests.