October 1991

Formula Companies and the Medical Profession

Author Affiliations

The Hospital for Sick Children Breastfeeding Support Programme 555 University Ave Toronto, M5G 1×8 Ontario, Canada

Am J Dis Child. 1991;145(10):1089-1090. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1991.02160100020011

Sir.—Greer and Apple's interesting article1 pointing out the relationship between formula companies and the medical profession tells only part of the story. In alluding to the formula companies working out of self interest, as expressed by Mead Johnson, they did not point out that the medical profession was also acting in its own economic interest when it helped establish that "comfortable, symbiotic relationship" with the formula companies. The financial benefit accrued by physicians when parents require medical assistance to feed their infants is hardly mentioned. (It is unlikely that many mothers 80 or 100 years ago would have consulted the doctor on how to breastfeed, since they knew that most doctors—almost all men—would not have been able to help them. Mothers now do consult doctors about breastfeeding, but, unfortunately, the medical curriculum is such that doctors still do not know how to help them. Indeed, doctors usually hinder

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