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Is Your Family Physician Prescribing Coca-Cola? (page 2)

Is Your Family Physician Prescribing Coca-Cola?

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Updated on Feb 3, 2010

“Hopefully, we will be judged on the content, not on the relationship,” he says. However, the relationship has already caused a big stir.

William Walker, M.D., director of Contra Costa Health Services in Martinez, California, publicly protested the partnership by withdrawing his 25-year membership with the AAFP.

Walker, and more than 20 other doctors, called for the AAFP to end the partnership. “How can any organization that claims to promote public health join forces with a company that promotes products that put our children at risk for obesity, heart disease and early death?” Walker said in a statement.

Henley says health organizations like the AAFP have two options: they can either ignore companies like Coca-Cola, or “think of strategic ways to formulate alliances to educate the public about making better choices.”

The truth, Henley says, is that doctors don't have the power to dictate to their patients what they should drink. What they can do, however, is “educate them about their choices.”

Still, the distance between public health and big business is not large enough for some. Over 1,000 people have written to the AAFP to express their concerns over the partnership, according to Linn, who helped to launch the letter-writing drive through the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood—and that's in just the first week of the initiative.

“Letter-writing is successful because public opinion matters,” Linn says. “If change is going to come, it's going to come because people speak up.”

This is, of course, not the first partnership of its kind, and it won't be the last. Coca-Cola is the AAFP's first partner in their new corporate partnership program, called the Consumer Alliance. Henley says they are in conversations with other consumer-oriented companies, but no additional contracts have been signed.

For more information about the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood's letter-writing campaign, click here.

For more information about the AAFP, and their consumer-facing website, visit: Familydoctor.org.

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