Letter to the editor: Philip Morris International has not been a member of ICAP or IARD’s board of directors.

IARD submitted the following letter to the International Journal of Health Policy and Management on 19 December 2019 in response to the publication: 
Delobelle P. Big tobacco, alcohol, and food and NCDs in LMICs: an inconvenient truth and call to action - comment on 'Addressing NCDs: challenges from industry market promotion and interferences'. (2019). International Journal of Health Policy and Management, 8(12); Art No 6, pp727-731.
Dear Dr. Khayatzadeh-Mahani,
I write to you concerning an inaccurate assertion made in a recent article in your journal. I am the Vice President of Science and Research at the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD), formerly the International Center for Alcohol Policy (ICAP), an organization dedicated to reducing the harmful use of alcohol.
In the article entitled “Big Tobacco, Alcohol, and Food and NCDs in LMICs:  An Inconvenient Truth and Call to Action.” Dr. Delobelle asserts that “the International Center on (sic) Alcohol Policies… was co-founded by PMI.” He supports this claim using an article by David Jernigan, published in the American Journal of Public Health in 2011. It is important for us to state that Phillip Morris International (PMI) did not co-found ICAP. Philip Morris International has not been a member of ICAP or IARD’s board of directors.
In the original article, Dr. Jernigan supports the incorrect assertion of PMI’s involvement in ICAP by stating that “Guy Smith, the [then] current executive vice president responsible for corporate relations and marketing public relations for Diageo, the world’s largest spirits producer, was previously the vice president---corporate affairs and senior public affairs and public relations officer for the Philip Morris Companies from 1975 to 1992”. Even if Mr. Smith worked for PMI prior to his employment by Diageo, that does not make Philip Morris a “founding company of ICAP,” as asserted by Mr. Jernigan. PMI was not a “founding company” or a member of ICAP at any time. It is public information that PMI has had an interest in Miller Brewing Company.
Perpetuation of the false assertion of PMI’s co-founding of ICAP in the recent publication by Dr. Delobelle raises serious reputational concerns for our organization. We are concerned that this false assertion may continue to be cited in the future if it is not corrected in your publication. We ask that the phrase “eg, through the International Center on Alcohol Policies, which was co-founded by PMI” be deleted from the article.
Jennifer Tujague
Vice President Science and Research

IARD received the following decision on 11 January 2020: 
Dear Ms. Jennifer L Tujague

Thank you very much for your interest in publishing your work at the International Journal of Health Policy and Management (IJHPM).

The initial review of the above-mentioned manuscript has led us to the conclusion that the paper does not receive priority to get published at the IJHPM. We regret this negative decision and would like to wish you the best with publication elsewhere on this occasion.


Truly Yours,

Editors of International Journal of Health Policy and Management