Research Topic

Corporate power and COVID-19

About this Research Topic

Market-driven economies, privatization, and the medicalization of health, amongst other factors, have all been shaped by, and are shaping corporate behaviors. This sits alongside the rapid growth in size and internationalisation of the very largest corporations, with the revenues of companies like Walmart, Volkswagen and Amazon now exceeding that of entire countries.
The 'industrial epidemic' hits vulnerable populations the hardest and is a direct consequence of corporate practices. These practices include the production and sale of unhealthy commodities, tax evasion, child labor, marketing to children, the distortion of science, and lobbying. Collectively, they have been described as 'commercial determinants of health'.
The current COVID-19 pandemic has seen many larger corporations increase their revenues, while they have also been responsible for growing inequities and negative impacts on population and planetary health.
The social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are vast, yet little is known about corporate political practices and the action of corporate power during the pandemic, and how these are shaping population and planetary health. There is evidence that alcohol and tobacco companies lobbied for carcinogenic products to be listed as essential commodities during the first lockdown period. Tobacco companies have used the pandemic to polish their bad reputation, by investing in vaccines development and in community responses. Food companies have used the pandemic to put a health halo on ultra-processed food products. Some have called this `disaster capitalism', where corporations use crises to strengthen their market position and social power.
For this Research Topic, we are interested in exploring the impacts of corporate power and political practices in response to the COVID-19 pandemic on public and planetary health. We have no restriction on the type of industry that is discussed. Manuscripts must provide scientific knowledge and evidence relevant to public health policy, research or/and practice.
We are interested in receiving Original Research articles, Systematic Reviews, Reviews, Policy and Practice Reviews, and Community Case Studies. Submissions could cover but are not limited to the following topics:
§ Corporate structural, instrumental and discursive power and the COVID-19 pandemic, in relation to public and/or planetary health
§ Corporate political practices and their impacts on public and/or planetary health during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the influence on science, policy and practice;
§ Ethical issues in public health related to corporations and their responses to the COVID-19 pandemic;
Conflicts of interest in public health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Special note: We will not accept manuscripts reporting on research that is funded by the tobacco, alcohol, food, gambling, arm, oil, pharmaceutical, and other health-harming industries and third parties affiliated with them, or from authors who have previously worked for or with them. All authors are asked to declare their current or previous interactions with these industries when they exist, and any interaction they had with any other industry(ies) described in their manuscript. We will reject manuscripts where there are clear conflicts of interest.


Keywords: commercial determinants of health, corporations, conflicts of interest, public health, COVID-19


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Market-driven economies, privatization, and the medicalization of health, amongst other factors, have all been shaped by, and are shaping corporate behaviors. This sits alongside the rapid growth in size and internationalisation of the very largest corporations, with the revenues of companies like Walmart, Volkswagen and Amazon now exceeding that of entire countries.
The 'industrial epidemic' hits vulnerable populations the hardest and is a direct consequence of corporate practices. These practices include the production and sale of unhealthy commodities, tax evasion, child labor, marketing to children, the distortion of science, and lobbying. Collectively, they have been described as 'commercial determinants of health'.
The current COVID-19 pandemic has seen many larger corporations increase their revenues, while they have also been responsible for growing inequities and negative impacts on population and planetary health.
The social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are vast, yet little is known about corporate political practices and the action of corporate power during the pandemic, and how these are shaping population and planetary health. There is evidence that alcohol and tobacco companies lobbied for carcinogenic products to be listed as essential commodities during the first lockdown period. Tobacco companies have used the pandemic to polish their bad reputation, by investing in vaccines development and in community responses. Food companies have used the pandemic to put a health halo on ultra-processed food products. Some have called this `disaster capitalism', where corporations use crises to strengthen their market position and social power.
For this Research Topic, we are interested in exploring the impacts of corporate power and political practices in response to the COVID-19 pandemic on public and planetary health. We have no restriction on the type of industry that is discussed. Manuscripts must provide scientific knowledge and evidence relevant to public health policy, research or/and practice.
We are interested in receiving Original Research articles, Systematic Reviews, Reviews, Policy and Practice Reviews, and Community Case Studies. Submissions could cover but are not limited to the following topics:
§ Corporate structural, instrumental and discursive power and the COVID-19 pandemic, in relation to public and/or planetary health
§ Corporate political practices and their impacts on public and/or planetary health during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the influence on science, policy and practice;
§ Ethical issues in public health related to corporations and their responses to the COVID-19 pandemic;
Conflicts of interest in public health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Special note: We will not accept manuscripts reporting on research that is funded by the tobacco, alcohol, food, gambling, arm, oil, pharmaceutical, and other health-harming industries and third parties affiliated with them, or from authors who have previously worked for or with them. All authors are asked to declare their current or previous interactions with these industries when they exist, and any interaction they had with any other industry(ies) described in their manuscript. We will reject manuscripts where there are clear conflicts of interest.


Keywords: commercial determinants of health, corporations, conflicts of interest, public health, COVID-19


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

01 April 2021 Abstract
01 October 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

01 April 2021 Abstract
01 October 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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