Coca-Cola Can Terminate Health Research It Funds, Investigation Finds

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Ed Cara, Gizmodo, May 8, 2019

The bounty of research funding provided by companies such as Coca-Cola to universities and elsewhere may come with some major strings attached, according to an investigation out Tuesday. The paper’s authors describe evidence of Coca-Cola crafting research agreements with universities in the U.S. and Canada that allowed the company to end studies at its whim, as well as evidence of scientists involved in these studies feeling stifled by the beverage company.

Coca-Cola and other soft drink companies have faced plenty of criticism from public health workers, as the consumption of sugary, calorie-filled drinks like soda and fruit juice is increasingly linked to health problems including obesity and type 2 diabetes. The public health blitz against Big Soda has seemingly started to work, with declining U.S. sales of soft drinks for more than a decade.

Following the playbook created by the tobacco industry, though, Coca-Cola and other beverage companies have provided funding to public health initiatives intended to study and combat the problems they helped cause, including through research grants.

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