RCPCH end paediatric conference sponsorship by infant formula manufacturers
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The Royal College of Paediatric and Child Health (RCPCH) has accepted multiple sponsors who are manufacturers or distributors of products covered by the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes at its upcoming conference in Cairo, Egypt on January 29-31 2019.
The International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent relevant WHA resolutions (the Code) is intended to be a minimum standard to protect the health of infants and young children by preventing predatory marketing of breastmilk substitutes and related products. Under WHA 69.9, manufacturers and distributors of these products are explicitly prohibited from sponsoring scientific and professional meetings.
By falsely claiming to support the Code while promoting a conference sponsored by some of the most egregious violators of the Code globally, the RCPCH not only violates their obligations but undermines the application of the Code globally. It is particularly egregious to promote such sponsors at a conference outside of the UK where aggressive marketing campaigns for infant formula and inappropriate foods have been widely reported and linked to increased infant morbidity and mortality.
We call on the RCPCH to:
- immediately cancel all sponsorships of the RCPCH MENA conference January 29-31 in Cairo, Egyptby manufacturers and distributors of products covered by the Code
- publicly correct misstatements about the Code and the applicability of subsequent WHA resolutions to RCPCH's work
- publish a policy to prohibit any future sponsorship, exhibitorship or funding of RCPCH events, meetings or activities by manufacturers and distributors of products covered by the Code, including entities not at arm's length to such distributors
We call on the conference faculties, committee, speakers and registered participants to demand these changes or withdraw their participation in the RCPHC MENA Conference.
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