Renowned philanthropists Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg have once again teamed up to create a new fund worth USD 4 million to help the developing countries that are facing potentially pricey challenges on legal front from big tobacco companies.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies on Wednesday made the official announcement about the creation of the anti-tobacco trade litigation fund to help those nations facing the brunt of tobacco firms.
According to them, the nations having limited resources must not be bullied into making bad choices for health policy.
“This new fund is going to help countries who are sued by the tobacco industry fight back in court and win,” former New York mayor Bloomberg told media persons during a telebriefing.
The US-based “Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids” will be administering the fund that starts with USD 4 million. The initial investment is likely to grow with the growth of the donors.
Bloomberg and Gates, the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft and world’s richest person, cited examples of Uruguay that has been battling a legal suit since 2010 by the cigarette making company Philip Morris International against the graphic health warnings use on the packets of tobacco products.
They also underscored the example of Australia which has been fending off a legal challenge from World Trade Organization (WTO) and Philip Morris each against its anti-tobacco laws.
According to Bloomberg, the tobacco industry commonly uses international trade agreements for threatening as well as preventing the nations from clearing tobacco control laws.
“This is not about trade. No one is a stronger supporter of capitalism and trade than I am. This is about sovereignty and whether a country has the right to set its own public health policies,” he said.
A report by the World Lung Foundation’s 2012 Tobacco Atlas and the American Cancer Society has showed that the collaborative profit of the six leading tobacco firms was USD 35.1 billion in the year 2010.