Further to our article “Update: Call for the Royal College to reject income from formula manufacturers ” LLLGB is pleased to note that the RCPCH has issued the following statement:
“RCPCH and commercial organisations
As you will be aware, following an RCPCH membership consultation, Council decided that a formal due diligence process would be followed before accepting funding for any RCPCH activity from any commercial organisation. Due diligence is defined by the Charity Commission as “the range of practical steps that need to be taken by trustees so that they are reasonably assured of the provenance of the funds given to the charity; confident that they know the people and organisations the charity works with; and able to identify and manage associated risks.”
Furthermore, the RCPCH has stated that “Danone, Abbott, Nestlé and Mead Johnson have not met the RCPCH Sure Diligence criteria and will not have a stand at the 2017 RCPCH Annual Conference in May.”
You can read the full statement here:
Letters to the Lancet
Several senior British paediatricians have written to The Lancet medical journal to support WHO officials in their criticism of recent decisions by the RCPCH to accept funding from manufacturers of breastmilk substitutes.
Dr. Tony Waterston, one of the letter’s authors and a Fellow of the RCPCH said: “We members of the RCPCH expect our College as a world leader to provide unbiased advice on breastfeeding and young child feeding. Unfortunately the acceptance of baby food industry funding compromises its ability to do so. This will also undermine paediatricians around the world in their efforts to support breastfeeding in both low income and high income countries. We are pleased to see a temporary halt of funding to specified breastmilk substitute manufacturers and ask that the College permanently excludes all such companies as potential sponsors as soon as possible.”
Open letter to WHO DG candidates: keep policy and priority setting free of commercial influence
The RCPCH are not the only organisation who are facing decisions over commercial influence. There is also a need to ensure candidates representing the World Health Organisation are not influenced by commercial interests.
In a separate issue concerning conflict of interest, 61 organisations have written an open letter in The Lancet to address upcoming elections in the World Health Organisation. The WHO Member States will meet in Geneva at the end of May 2017 for the 70th World Health Assembly (WHA). At this time, a new WHO Director-General (DG) will be elected. The letter states:
“As public-interest non-government organisations (NGOs) involved in global health governance and the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases, we believe that a fundamental consideration for Member States when electing the DG will be how the new leadership will ensure appropriate interactions with alcohol, food, pharmaceutical, and medical technology industries. We invite the three candidates to describe what steps they commit to take to ensure greater transparency, rigor, and public scrutiny of WHO’s policy and regulatory and norm-setting activities so that they are adequately protected from undue commercial interests”.