SHA Cymru’s response to article in NationCymru March 2021

An article appeared in NationCymru claiming that two Welsh Labour MPs hosted lobbying firm after their own party criticised Tory links with the company.

SHAC contacted the two MP’s involved who explained that these were cross party Parliamentary groups holding crucial talks about important subjects. One was about the fight against HIV in Wales and across the UK and the other raising awareness of liver disease.

Neither MP nor their staff were contacted by the journalist involved in writing the article and both MP’s vociferously denied any involvement with the private health lobbying firm.

The HIV event was to launch a major report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the crucial issue of HIV and mental health, including the experience of children and young people – which challenged the UK Government.

The launch was attended by leading HIV/AIDS activists, clinicians and HIV and mental health organisations and featured an inspiring and award-winning performance from the Children’s HIV Association, called ‘Life Growing Up’ which depicts the real-life stories of young people who have grown up living with HIV.

“Sponsorships, partnerships or donations to the APPG are declared as required, and the group has operated independently for decades without fear or favour, including challenging pharmaceutical companies, governments and others for decades in the fight against HIV and AIDS.”

The event about liver disease was about raising awareness of liver disease and the organisers of the event was the Liver Trust, a well-respected registered charity, and Norgine, a specialist pharmaceutical company.

The day’s event consisted of a demonstration session for MPs of liver health and a meeting, with light refreshments, at which representatives of the Liver Trust, NHS patients and the MP spoke about the seriousness of liver disease and the need for prevention.

A spokesperson for the British Liver Trust wrote:

“Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention. We share your frustration with Nation Cymru’s article, which is clearly inaccurate and fails to recognise the importance of the event. It is particularly disappointing they are seemingly unaware that it was an event led by the British Liver Trust.

We have written to Nation Cymru clarifying the details of the event, including your support, and asking for the article to be removed.

We were incredibly grateful for your support in arranging what proved to be a hugely successful event, so thank you again”.

 

Articles like this can be extremely damaging and SHAC will follow up on any issues brought to our attention.