On June 22nd the EU Commission Tobacco working-group’s Subcommittee on Tracibility and Security Features convened a meeting in which DG SANTE informed the committee that they have subcontracted consulting work to two firms to conduct both a feasibility and implementation study of potential track and trace solutions to be implemented across the EU. The question is: are these third party firms truly independent of tobacco industry influence.
The Tobacco industry has produced and promoted a system called Codentify which they have begun implementing across Europe in an attempt to create an unavoidable reality in which their system must be chosen by default. In actuality this system may not even track or trace products and as the health conscious community raised concerns about the systems capabilities the tobacco industry sold the system off to a, so called, “Third Party” company named Inexto in an attempt to distance the product from themselves. This story I proudly broke to the EU observer some months ago.
The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) has explicitly stated that Codentify does not meet their standard for a solid track and trace solution for the industry.
The two company’s assigned the consulting task by DG SANTE are PWC and Everis. The hiring of such firms came as some surprise to those watching this committee closely and when the firms names where announced it was important to explore if these firms have an intrinsic interest in supporting a tobacco industry produced solution.
After just an initial search it is clear that PWC has strong ties to the tobacco industry which put their objectivity in inherent question. PWC are the primary auditors for Philip Moris International (PMI) and have in the past done auditing work for British American Tobacco (BAT) as well.
Although this is just preliminary information I will continue to delve deeper into this issue and publish as more information comes to light.
Initially DG SANTE refused to respond to requests for clarity on these matters but in recent days have responded. I will be including their full response in a follow up article.