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Proposal to provide fair support to families with children allergic to cow's milk protein

Health leaders across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent want to hear views on proposals that will affect families with babies who are not breastfed but have cow’s milk protein allergy (CMPA).

Currently the NHS across the county spends around £1million per year on prescriptions for infant formula milk that does not contain cow’s milk protein. This currently benefits around 1,000 infants with the allergy whose families cannot or choose not to breastfeed. It means that parents and carers of those infants pay nothing for these alternative products but are eligible to claim them via free prescriptions.

However, mothers who cannot or choose not to breastfeed and whose babies don’t have the allergy have to buy infant formula milk.

The cost of infant formula milk for a child with CMPA is considerably higher than that of regular formula – ranging from £20 to £56 per 800g for specialist formula against £10 for regular formula.

To help make this fairer for everyone, the new proposal is to subsidise the cost of CMPA infant formula milk, meaning that the cost to the family would be around £10 – the same as the cost of standard infant formula. Families on lower incomes may be eligible for an additional subsidy.


Cost to NHS

800g CMPA formula

Cost to family

800g CMPA formula

Cost to family

800g regular formula


Ranges from £20 up to £56

Free on prescription



£10 to £46



Samantha Buckingham, Head of Medicines Optimisation for Stafford & Surrounds, Cannock Chase and South East Staffordshire & Seisdon Peninsula Clinical Commissioning Groups said: “CMPA creates a genuine clinical need if a child is not being breast fed. However there are many reasons that infants are not breast fed. We believe our proposal treats everyone fairly and leaves a family affected by CMPA paying around the same for their baby’s formula milk as one that is not.

“The NHS has limited resources and is faced with increasing demands. We therefore have to prioritise how we spend our money. We believe this new approach, with CMPA formula subsidised through vouchers issued by GPs and then redeemable at pharmacies, is reasonable and would free significant resources to be spent in other areas.

“We now want to hear the views of everyone about this proposal, and we are launching a six week public survey. We would like to encourage local people to voice their opinion. No final decision will be taken until the results of the engagement have been analysed and considered.”

Families affected would have infants aged up to 13 months.

To find out more about the proposals and to have a say please go to: https://tinyurl.com/CMPAPubSurJan18   

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