The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), also known as the National Academies, is convening an expert committee to review the scientific evidence on the relationship between alcohol consumption and health outcomes. The committee’s report will summarize its review of specific research questions that have significant implications for the next edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Unfortunately, the alcohol industry’s fingerprints are all over the process and the National Academies’ selection of two researchers who engaged in widely publicized unethical practices to benefit the alcohol industry calls for the nation’s response.
The National Academies has appointed Eric B. Rimm and Kenneth Mukamal, with Rimm slated to chair the committee. Mukamal was the lead investigator and Rimm a co-investigator of the ill-fated Moderate Alcohol and Cardiovascular Health (MACH) trial, an NIAAA, alcohol-industry-funded study that was shut down in 2018 for its breach of ethical standards and protocol. The egregious conduct of investigators for the MACH trial has been widely publicized, yet both Rimm and Mukamal were selected by the National Academies while the nominations of numerous highly respected alcohol epidemiologists submitted through public health organizations were not included.
A National Institutes of Health (NIH) report reviewed the MACH trial and found that “senior officials at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) actively and secretively courted the alcohol industry to fund the $100 million project and saw to it that a favored principal investigator (PI) won the funding.” The report further stated the study “calls into question the impartiality of the process and thus casts doubt that the scientific knowledge gained from the study would be actionable or believable.” This is the study that Eric Rimm and Kenneth Mukamal led. These two individuals not only collaborated with the alcohol industry; they did it behind closed doors, and they worked to keep it from the American people.
In addition, the National Academies’ activity is in direct competition with the Dietary Guidelines process that is currently placed with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). As the National Academies brings forward its findings from this process, led by individuals long known for their cooperation and friendliness to the alcohol industry, that information will stand in stark contrast to the independent federal course that honors decades of process, protocol, and scientific rigor.
Potential Talking Points:
This process has the alcohol industry’s fingerprints all over it.
The disgraced lead investigators on the MACH trial are now heading up a parallel process to the dietary guidelines through the National Academies. We have the MACH trial all over again.
The National Academies should have known better, and we call on them to DO better.
TAKE ACTION! Urge the National Academies to rescind both appointments of Rimm and Mukamal.
Additional Opportunities to Shine A Spotlight:
Reach out to your local and state media to share the story
Write letters to the editor/op eds and post on social media – tag @theNASEM
Submit your feedback on committee composition via the online form.
Project Title: Review of Evidence on Alcohol and Health – PIN Number: HMD-FNB-23-06
Email anytime: firstname.lastname@example.org
H.R. 3721 - The USPS Shipping Equity Act
A bill that would allow the postal service to ship alcohol through the mail.
Take action to stop the US Postal Service from being allowed to ship alcohol to consumers! Reach out to your Representatives. If you’re unsure who your Representative’s are you can type your address into the “Contact Your Member” tool on the right hand side of congress.gov.
Will allow the Postal Service to ship alcohol through the mail.
Force the Postal Service to invest resources into age verification technologies and create further logistical challenges to an already overburdened system.
UPS and Fedex policies for age verification are already convoluted and difficult to follow, undermining the three-tiered system of alcohol control.
This bill directly undermines what the science says about alcohol delivery sales and we have the COVID 19 pandemic as a perfect case study for that.
We believe this legislation will only escalate existing negative public health outcomes relating to excessive alcohol use in communities nationwide.
Any federal law that would allow shipments of alcohol to be sent through the mail impedes the fundamental principles of public health and safety that underpin our current alcohol regulatory system.
Strongly oppose this bill.
Note: Unless you know you are approved/able to lobby, we suggest using a personal email address during non-paid time to complete this action.