Plenary 2: Commercial determinants of non-communicable diseases: the imperative for a systems approach

Thursday 9 November, 17:50 – 18:50 Dublin time (UTC)

Organiser: EUPHA, European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies



The rising burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) makes a business-as-usual approach to public and planetary health increasingly untenable. Despite significant international and national commitments and the fact that NCDs are largely preventable, the public health community remains challenged in its quest to identify effective solutions for NCD reduction.

Two pressing issues make responding to this challenge particularly intricate. The first is the narrow approach to addressing NCDs and the continued dominance of reductionist biomedical and individual-level paradigms. The second is the involvement of corporate actors, contributing to the 'NCD-genic' environment. With the accelerating momentum of economic globalization and its expanding worldwide footprint, commercial determinants of health are becoming an increasingly dominant force shaping global patterns of public and planetary health, including disparities in health within and between nations.

Commercial determinants of health arise in the context of the provision of goods or services for payment and include commercial activities and the environment in which commerce takes place. They can affect people’s health, directly or indirectly, positively or negatively; and through a variety of factors - environmental, political, social, behavioural, cultural, and economic. To improve global health and well-being and foster societal progress, commercial entities must undergo a transformation from profit-at-any-cost models to ones that embrace social and environmental responsibility. Such transformation entails a commitment to adhering to regulations aimed at preventing harmful practices and products, as well as abandoning opposition to public health policies that may threaten their power or profits.

This plenary will discuss the role of the commercial sector in global health and the value of a systems approach to understanding NCDs as outcomes of intricate systems.


  • Josep Figueras, Director European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies
  • Nicole Mauer, European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies

Keynote speaker:

  • Iveta Nagyova, President EUPHA and Head of the Department of Social and Behavioural Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, PJ Safarik University, Kosice, Slovakia


  • Mark Petticrew, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom 
  • Amandine Garde, University of Liverpool, United Kingdom; President EUPHA Law and public health section
  • Simon Bacon, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada 
  • Caroline Cerny, Policy & Engagement Director, Bite Back 2030
  • Gauden Galea, Strategic Adviser to the WHO Regional Director for Europe, Special Initiative on NCDs and Innovation