A motion at the college’s annual meeting was submitted by a group of paediatricians calling the college to reject income from milk formula manufacturers through conference stands and clinical meetings.
Paediatricians have said that while the college has distanced itself from sponsorship, they warn that receiving any income from manufacturers will distort public and professional perceptions on the college’s position on breastfeeding and their advice on appropriate use of milk formula.
In the motion, they said: “Sponsorship of this kind thus damages the college’s reputation as an independent advocate for child health; we can afford not to have the money, we cannot afford the loss of reputation.”
Professor of Community Child Health at the University of Glasgow and the proposer of the motion, Charlotte Wright, said that allowing milk formula manufacturer stands at conferences and clinical meetings sells access to health care professionals.
“[The college] is facilitating exposure of their paediatricians to the promotion of formula milk. I would never meet anyone from a formula milk company if I didn’t go to clinical meetings organised by the college.
“WHO has specifically advised that health practitioners should not meet with representatives of formula companies.”
In response to the motion, Officer for Health Promotion at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Russell Viner said in a statement: “RCPCH takes a rigorous and robust approach to avoid institutional conflicts of interest and to maintain the reputation of RCPCH as an unbiased, independent advocate for child health.
“We ensure compliance with guidance from the Charity Commission and best practice within the scientific and medical fields.”
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