Intended for healthcare professionals


Unicef and baby food manufacturers

BMJ 2000; 321 doi: (Published 14 October 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:960

Unicef continues to base its actions and programmes on the best interests of the child

  1. Carol Bellamy, executive director (
  1. Unicef, Unicef House, 3 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017, USA
  2. Baby Milk Action, Cambridge CB2 3AX
  3. International Baby Food Action Network-Geneva Infant Feeding Association, PO Box 157, 1211 Geneva 19, Switzerland

    EDITOR—I write with reference to Yamey's article about the alliances Unicef is seeking to form with manufacturers of infant formula that do not comply with the international code of marketing of breast milk substitutes.1 Unicef does not accept donations from manufacturers of infant formula whose marketing practices violate this code and subsequent World Health Assembly resolutions. Unicef stands firmly behind the code and will continue its longstanding support for breastfeeding programmes worldwide.

    Over the past few months there has been considerable discussion within Unicef about our relationships with the corporate community, including manufacturers of infant formula milk. This internal discussion emerged mainly because Unicef is one of the cosponsoring agencies of UNAIDS and has, at the request of the United Nations secretary general, participated in discussions with five large pharmaceutical companies on the possibility of obtaining various drugs to fight HIV/AIDS at discounted prices on behalf of developing countries. One of these companies is widely viewed as violating the code.

    Some people inside and outside Unicef …

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