PHILADELPHIA. Fifteen health organizations file in Philadelphia’s sugary drink tax (AHA News)

Fifteen health organizations filed a friend-of-the-court brief Friday in hopes that the beverage industry’s appeal of a sugar tax will fall flat.

Philadelphia’s 1.5-cent-an-ounce tax on sweetened drinks survived a major challenge in December from the beverage industry, after a city judge dismissed the group’s lawsuit. The beverage industry filed an appeal last month.

The health groups’ brief was filed by the Public Health Law Center on behalf of the American Heart Association and 14 leading public health and medical organizations, including the American Medical Association and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. The science-based filing outlines support for taxing sugary drinks in Philadelphia, which has some of the highest rates of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and obesity among large cities.

While the tax is said to have a public health impact through reduced consumption, the AHA says the revenue raised by the tax will be used in a way that has a significant impact.

The tax will be levied on distributors, not consumers. It is expected to bring in about $91 million annually, which the city plans to use to expand pre-kindergarten programs, improve parks and offer tax credits for businesses that sell healthy beverages. Read more