06 Aug 2020
The BDA supports all efforts to improve child health in the UK through active promotion of breastfeeding. There is a view that this work could be strengthened by changing the way we work with companies who manufacture breastmilk substitutes (BMS). The BDA Board of Directors have discussed this issue and agreed that we should no longer accept some types of sponsorship from BMS divisions of companies. This is in the context of guidance from the Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) which outlines that staff should not be encouraged or enabled to attend study days sponsored by BMS product divisions of companies. This policy provides more background on the decision and details what we are going to do.
The BDA believes that
- The work done to protect infant health and promote breastfeeding is crucial and that we should support our members to adhere to schemes like BFI which work towards these aims. However, these schemes may be interpreted differently at a local level which can result in uncertainty. This is why the BDA will develop guidance for members in complying with the requirements of these schemes.
In addition, so that BDA members can access suitable CPD whilst complying with these requirements, we will no longer accept sponsorship for BDA events from BMS product divisions of companies.
- This new policy applies to event sponsorship only and does not include other sponsorship such as advertising, corporate membership, consultancy and insight work or other projects. It includes all BDA-led conferences, seminars, study days and training courses, including specialist group and regional branch events.
- No sponsorship for the promotion of BMS products will be accepted at such events. In this context, the BDA aligns with the UNICEF definition of BMS which is any product which replaces breast milk for children up to the age of three years, including FSMPs (complete clinical paediatric products, specialist formulas and feeds, as well as over the counter preparations).
- BMS product divisions of companies and their representatives may be invited to speak at these events if the organising committee feel they require an update, but no sponsorship fee can be accepted. Any such presentations must focus on scientific updates only, and they would only be invited in order to present and take questions. Similarly, BMS product divisions of companies may be invited to provide information which the organising committee feel supports the delivery of the event learning objectives, but no sponsorship fee can be accepted.
- Only BMS product divisions of companies are included in this new policy – providers of foods and FSMP products for children aged over three years and adults will continue to be invited to sponsor BDA events as these are not within the UNICEF definition of BMS. The BDA will maintain guidance for event organisers in this respect.
- The BDA will still engage in dialogue with BMS product divisions of companies in order to influence and advocate, but these relationships will be outside of a sponsorship context.
- This shift takes account of the reality of the current climate while also supporting members to access suitable CPD. We will monitor its impact to ensure the BDA is aware of any adverse clinical care issues.