Side Meetings


Addressing commercial determinants of health: the significance of social determinants and social participation


  • 09:00 - 12:30 HRS. (BKK)

  • Venue : Lotus Suite 9

  • Contact Person : Chatura Wijesundara,

  • World Health Organization Sri Lanka

Commercial determinants of health (CDoH) are a key social determinant, and refer to the conditions, actions and omissions by commercial actors that affect health. Commercial determinants arise in the context of the provision of goods or services for payment and include commercial activities, as well as the environment in which commerce takes place. They can have beneficial or detrimental impacts on health.

Commercial determinants often disproportionately affect countries and populations that are not profiting from the product or service that causes harm to health or planet, but instead are faced with the burdens of these harms. As a result, they shape health equities, both within and between countries.

Commercial entities have had strong influences creating negative behaviors that affect health and wellbeing. Efforts at national level for mitigation are to influence these commercial determinants through legal frameworks, penalties, tax reforms etc.

For profit organizations create a demand to which people react. It is important to therefore discuss on how population social empowerment through a participatory approach can be engineered to create demand for wellness, that will mitigate the impact from commercial entities.

Individual health promotion is resource intensive and should be integrated to person centered care, often addressing those who seek care. Societies can easily understand how to withstand commercial influences in wellness-oriented population. A herd effect for wellness promotion is likely to have an effect on non-converted persons who may follow, of course leaving aside the extreme of laggards/ non receptive in a population.

“Shifting the trajectory of peoples behaviors by using population wide approaches understanding the social determinants fabric to refashion for a wellness oriented society can have lasting efforts .” It is with this underlying principle that adopts public health approaches that Sri Lanka has opted to take a concerted effort for a population wide wellness plan known as “Stay Well Sri Lanka”.

The Side Meeting will explore the technical concepts on CDoH, and how SDH and social participation will link to mitigating the impacts of CDoH. The session will bring together experts in the field of CDoH and the country experiences will be highlighted on measures adopted to address the challenge of CDoH. This will range from supply side interventions that are addressed through bringing legislature, recommending standards and monitoring of productions to community empowerment programmes. Experience from Sri Lanka will also be showcased in the above areas and the session is expected to be a learning experience across different approaches and settings.
There are clear opportunities to move forward on the commercial determinants, particularly in better understanding and addressing the conflicts of interest but also potential co-benefits of private sector action for better health, at global, national and local levels. The side meeting is expected to support the strengthen the evidence base and convene partnerships and dialogue to better address CDoH

1. To identify exemplars globally and regionally on wellness-oriented programs

2. To discuss Sri Lanka’s experience on commercial determinants affecting health and wellbeing

3. To discuss public health approaches best suited to prevent/ mitigate commercial determinants