Namely, the soda giant reserved the right to review results early, threaten researchers with termination, “quash studies” it found unfavorable, and walk away with the findings.
Very restrictive for an “unrestricted” grant
The study authors are concerned these rights could allow Coke to bury or skew “critical health information,” if they haven’t already. They also named Big Food as the latest public health enemy to join ranks with Big Pharma and Big Tobacco (sodapressing).
It’s not a good look for Coke, which upholds integrity as a core value, and has landed in hot soda in the past over its questionable tactics. Some health experts are calling for stricter policies and predicting that more of this type of behavior will come as soda sales continue to slip.
Responding to the Cambridge report, Coke pointed out the lack of evidence that it acted on any of the sketchy rights in question, and emphasized its recently updated research guidelines and renewed commitment to transparency.