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Royal college stops taking funding from formula milk firms BMJ 2019; 364 doi: (Published 14 February 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;364:l743

RCPCH statement on relationship with formula milk companies

The Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) Council has made the decision to no longer accept any funding from formula milk companies.

Following consideration by RCPCH Council, the College’s policy-making body, the RCPCH has today (Wednesday 13 February) decided to no longer accept any funding from formula milk companies.

The College, which has 19,000 members worldwide, wishes to reiterate the importance of promoting breastfeeding as the best possible method of infant feeding. We have always strongly supported breastfeeding, the promotion of breastfeeding, the provision of advice and support for women, and national policies, practices, and legislation that are conducive to breastfeeding, and we will continue to do so.

For some babies who cannot breastfeed, specialist formula milks are crucial in protecting not only their health, but in many cases their life. These milks are prescribed by paediatricians and can be vital for young patients with allergies and gastrointestinal conditions.

It is for this reason that the RCPCH will seek to continue to engage and work in partnership with formula milk companies with regards to specialist formula milks. It was decided to continue this engagement into 2019 and beyond but without accepting any funding. Prior to the recent suspension of financial arrangements, RCPCH received in the region of £40,000 per annum from formula milk companies in respect of event sponsorship and advertising.

The RCPCH will now develop a clear plan of action for this future engagement, and will provide more information in due course.

Baby Milk Action note:  The RCPCH policy that permitted Nestle and Danone sponsorship was adopted under the Presidency of Prof Neena Modi, who has now taken up the post on on Nestlé’s scientific Advisory Board.
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