Public Health Experts Examine Conflicts Of Interest In Infant Formula Industry, Policy Efforts To Address Issues

BMJ Opinion: Conflict of interest and the infant formula industry — a call to action
Tanya Doherty of the Health Systems Research Unit at the South African Medical Research Council and the School of Public Health at the University of the Western Cape in South Africa and colleagues discuss the conflicts of interest in the infant formula industry and efforts to address them globally and in South Africa. The authors write, “[P]olicies and interventions to support breastfeeding are undermined by powerful multi-national formula milk manufacturers who compete for a share of infant feeding. … In the field of child health and nutrition, the primary responsibility of health professionals is to safeguard optimal health and development, which includes protection and support of breastfeeding. The primary concern of companies who manufacture breastmilk substitutes is profit, and their marketing strategy often targets endorsement by health professionals. The intersection of these two groups therefore leads to conflicts of interest…” (10/3).

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