The world’s largest brewer, AB InBev, has ended its funding of a controversial $100 million 10-year study, being conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), examining the health impact of moderate drinking.
Here’s the deal…
AB InBev has pulled out of an NIH Study on Friday after the New York Times published a story revealing that representatives of the world-renowned medical research organization, actively courted the world’s largest beer producers at outings and luncheons, starting in late 2013, at pricey locations like The Breakers “where they gave talks strongly suggesting that the study’s results would endorse moderate drinking as healthy.”
Clearly this seemed like good news to the worlds’ leading alcohol producers and five companies including Diageo, Pernod Ricard, Heineken, Carlsberg and AB InBev ended up donating around $66 million to the study of which AB InBev contributed $15.4 million.
Those payments, which started three years ago, were reportedly “funneled through a nongovernmental foundation that raises funds for the NIH.”
The NIH is currently examining whether officials went against government policy when they approached alcohol companies in this manner.
According to the New York Times, the 2013/2014 presentations gave the alcohol industry an opportunity to preview the trial design and interact with Dr. Mukamal, the scientist who “was eventually chosen to head the huge clinical trial.”
And while the NIH is defending the independence of the study to investigate alcohol’s possible cardiovascular health risks, the Drinks Business is reporting that “many have questioned the involvement of the drinks industry in such a study and questioned whether it can ever be fully objective.”
So here’ where things stand now…
The NIH’s Moderate Alcohol and Cardiovascular Health Trial is currently on hold while investigations into whether NIH representatives engaged in any improper behavior in order to secure funds for the study are concluded
And Anheuser-Busch, who apparently didn’t have a problem being courted by NIH and when it was hinted that the findings that would most likely endorse moderate drinking as healthy, have taken the moral high ground and ended their support of the potentially tainted study.