Regulating Tobacco, Alcohol and Unhealthy Foods: The Legal Issues   |  August 13, 2013

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Investment claims by Philip Morris against Australian and Uruguayan tobacco packaging regulations have not only signaled the opening of a new front in tobacco litigation, but have highlighted the broader potential implications of international investment law for prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). This chapter examines those potential implications and highlights how efforts to induce investment may tie the hands of health regulators. The discussion first examines state contracts, drawing upon examples from the tobacco sector where limits on regulation have been imposed by contracts for the sale of state-owned enterprises and to host international sporting events. The chapter then examines the implications of international investment agreements (IIAs) for regulation. Although IIAs leave host states a wide degree of regulatory autonomy, there are legal risks associated with attempts to induce investment in the food, beverage and tobacco sectors that states should manage carefully.

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