21 Mar The Royal College of paediatrics and child health decides to turn away money from formula companies
This is a significant step as the UK has one of the lowest rates of breastfeeding in the world.
In February 2019, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) Council announced that it has decided to no longer accept any funding from formula milk companies, and reiterated their commitment to promoting and supporting breastfeeding. This decision is long-awaited as the RCPCH has long been under the scrutiny of public health and breastfeeding advocates for accepting funding from baby food companies. In fact, a group of child health experts from WHO questioned RCPCH’s integrity and impartiality for accepting funding from industry, “acceptance of funding or other incentives, however conditional, creates a sense of obligation and loyalty to the company in question. This is exactly what health professional associations, including the RCPCH, should avoid.”
Hopefully this RCPCH decision can be a standard bearer to its members and other health professionals and health professional organisations around the world as sponsorship from industry has risen to a new level of high. Companies are infiltrating health systems, professional associations, academic institutes, NGOs and government programmes through sponsorship, creating conflicts of interest that compromise the integrity of institutions and programmes whose primary duty is to protect breastfeeding and optimal infant and young child feeding.