06 October 2016


'Leveraging Certification Marks for Public Health' by Margaret Chon and Maria Therese Fujiye in Alberto Alemanno and Enrico Bonadio (eds) The New Intellectual Property of Health (Edward Elgar, 2016) explores
 how certification marks might impact public health via consumer choice rather than by government mandate. Labeling and marking devices such as certification marks could provide greater information to consumers about health-related individual choices, but their full public health impact will be affected by the same factors that throw into question the effectiveness of other forms of disclosure, such as mandatory disclosure of nutrition labeling. These behavioral factors include consumer understanding of the information as well as consumer purchasing responses to this information. Another significant factor affecting their ultimate impact is the capacity of institutions to create and educate consumers about these marks as well as to maintain their informational integrity in the context of powerful countervailing market forces. Reliance upon market forces to promote better public health outcomes does not obviate the role of the state, which plays a crucial role in guarding and shaping core public interest goals, not only to encourage creative solutions to challenging public health problems, but also to constrain regulatory capture by private, market-based stakeholders.