Physicians blogging about breastfeeding
ABM Executive Committee urges AAP to discontinue formula marketing relationship
Thomas K. McInerny, President, American Academy of Pediatrics
We are writing on behalf of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (ABM), a multispecialty worldwide organization of physicians dedicated to the support, promotion and protection of breastfeeding and the education of our fellow physicians, to urge the American Academy of Pediatrics to discontinue its participation in infant formula marketing in maternity hospitals and pediatric practices.
It has come to our attention that the AAP has contracted with Mead Johnson to provide AAP-branded materials as part of the formula manufacturer’s maternity discharge pack. Such discharge packs have been shown in randomized controlled trials to reduce breastfeeding duration and exclusivity. Based on this Level I evidence, UNICEF, the World Health Organization, the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, the American Public Health Association, the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the United States Surgeon General oppose infant formula marketing in health care settings. Concern about these harmful effects of formula marketing has led two-thirds of America’s 45 top hospitals to discontinue formula advertising in their maternity wards. It is therefore deeply troubling that the AAP has contracted with Mead Johnson to support this practice.
The AAP’s decision to contract with Mead Johnson also violates multiple AAP policy statements. Distribution of discharge packs has been identified as detrimental to exclusivity and duration of breastfeeding in the AAPs Policy Statement on Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk. In its resolution on Divesting from Formula Marketing in Pediatric Care, the Academy advises pediatricians not to provide formula marketing materials to parents of newborns and infants. Both the AAP’s Sample Hospital Breastfeeding Policy for Newborns and ABM’s Model Breastfeeding Policy prohibit provision of formula marketing materials to mothers.
AAP participation in formula marketing undermines consensus medical recommendations for exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life and is harmful to the health of mothers and infants. We urge the AAP to discontinue this relationship with Mead Johnson. We further urge the AAP leadership to implement a formal policy prohibiting Academy participation in direct-to-consumer marketing of formula or formula company materials.
Thank you for your consideration.
Dr. Wendy Brodribb, President (Family Physician)
Dr. Arthur Eidelman, Immediate Past President (Pediatrician)
Dr. Julie Taylor, President-Elect (Family Physician)
Dr. Tim Tobolic, Treasurer (Family Physician)
Dr. Kathie Marinelli, Secretary (Pediatrician)
cc. Dr. Kinga Szucs, ABM representative to SoB AAP