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Overdiagnosis and industry influence: how cow’s milk protein allergy is extending the reach of infant formula manufacturers

BMJ 2018; 363 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k5056 (Published 05 December 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;363:k5056

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Re: Overdiagnosis and industry influence: how cow’s milk protein allergy is extending the reach of infant formula manufacturers

N Saghir, J Stallard, R Saghir, U Anwar
Burns and Plastic Surgery Department, Pinderfields Hospital, Wakefield

We commend the recent work by Chris van Tulleken highlighting the impact that formula manufactures have on the medical profession and mothers. We agree with Bob Klaber that they have significant influence over mothers and their children at the most vulnerable time in their lives.

There needs to be a vast change in the way the medical profession interact with these industries. Manufactures spend a large budget on marketing their products. We would like to take the opportunity to express the need for these leading manufacturers to allocate money to burns awareness. As a regional burns centre for children we regularly see patients with significant scald injuries secondary to formula preparation. On average we see two children a month.

We advocate the need for increased awareness on packaging; regarding safe formula preparation. We also feel the leading industries need to assist in increasing first aid knowledge amongst parents, so that if a burn was to occur, swift appropriate first aid is delivered, thus reducing the severity of injury. There is often confusion regarding appropriate first aid in presenting patients, regularly burns are not cooled for twenty minutes or dressed appropriately.

Competing interests: No competing interests

17 December 2018
Noman Saghir
Plastics and Burns Doctor
Joseph Stallard, Reyan Saghir, Umair Anwar
Pinderfields Hospital
Pinderfield's Hospital, Aberford Road, WF1 4DG