Pfizer emphasises that breast milk is best for infants but says for the millions of infants that don't have breast milk, GOLD aims to mimic breast as closely as possible to provide the best nutrition.
The range is low in high-quality protein, and provides 100% of the US daily reference intakes (DRIs) for vitamin A, iron, iodine and zinc. Sub-groups of infants that could benefit from it include the 43 million older infants the World Health Organization estimates are overweight.
The move confirms Pfizer’s growing interest in the nutra space. The drug giant has demonstrated greater emphasis on external research partnerships and buy-ins as its core cash-cows such as the cholesterol reduction drug, Lipitor, and erectile dysfunction stalwart, Viagra, lose ground to generic drugs and other competitors.
In February it acquired the consumer healthcare business of Danish firm Ferrosan for an undisclosed fee in what it said was, “an excellent strategic fit that strengthens our presence in dietary supplements”.
Critical nutritional foundation
Of GOLD, Amy Schulman, business unit lead at Pfizer Nutrition said: “We are focused on meeting the nutritional needs of the world’s youngest populations. We recognize that this is an enormous responsibility and are committed to helping establish a critical nutritional foundation. By drawing upon Pfizer’s innovative science core, we are now introducing the first of a series of clinically-based nutrition products that help provide the optimal nutrients for children.”
“The new GOLD range contains less protein to support healthier rates of growth, as well as fortification of the Second, Third and Fourth ages with oligofructose, a soluble fibre, to promote gut health,” said Patricia A DeRusso, MD, chief medical officer of vice president at Pfizer Nutrition.It also contains omega-3 fatty acids.
It said the new GOLD range had been formulated with recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN), and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in mind.
In the lead-up to the reformulation, Pfizer sponsored a study of 1200 health care professionals (called NOURISH (KNOwledge,UndeRstanding &InsightSInto CHild Nutrition) in 12 countries that found most parents do not understand the long-term impact of nutrition on their toddlers.
More than 70% of health care professionals said it was possible to give infants too much of certain nutrients.
Correction: This article has been amended to clarify that GOLD does not specifically target older, overweight infants.