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Take action to stop these and other violations of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes. The people responsible have names and addresses - call on them to market their products ethically.

The tables below give details of some recent violations. The date when the violation was last reported to Baby Milk Action or confirmed to be current is given. The violation reference is for Baby Milk Action's records. Please quote it if forwarding correspondence to us, if possible.

Abbott Ross launches offensive in Brazil

Violation Reference
Abbott Ross
Free supplies of Similac Advance 1 in Brazil
September 1998

A case of Abbott Similac Advance 1 (batch number 33023QU01-043) provided to a public hospital in Sao Paulo free of charge as part of a promotional campaign and in breach of national and international regulations.

Abbott Ross has launched a Similac promotion campaign in Brazil with the provision of free supplies to hospitals in the country. For example, the case of Similac Advance 1 shown above was delivered by an Abbott representative to a public hospital in Sao Paulo.

Article 19 of Brazil's Marketing Regulations for Infant Foods states, "Donations or sales at low prices of products which fall within the scope of these Regulations to institutions that assist infants are forbidden, either for use within the institution, or for distribution to its clientele."

The director of the hospital sent the supplies back to Abbott with a letter pointing out that this practice is a violation of Brazil's Regulations. In addition, Resolution WHA47.5 states that there should be "no donations of free or subsidized supplies of breastmilk substitutes and other products covered by the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes in any part of the health care system."

Ask Abbott Ross to stop providing free supplies of breastmilk substitutes in Brazil and to explain why it has been violating Brazil's regulations and the requirements of World Health Assembly so outrageously.

Complain to
Resolution WHA47.5 bans the provision of free or low-cost supplies of products covered by the International Code in any part of the health care system. Mr. Duane L. Burnham
Chief Executive Officer
Abbott Laboratories
1 Abbott Park Road
Abbott Park
IL 60064-3500
Fax:+1 847 938 1342

Wyeth still ignoring labelling requirements in Malawi

Violation Reference
Labels of baby foods marketed in Malawi
September 1998

For a number of years Baby Milk Action has campaigned for baby food companies selling products in Malawi to label them in the appropriate language for the country.

Nestlé heaped scorn on Baby Milk Action for pressing for such labels, even though it had received the same request from the Malawi Government. Nestlé finally agreed to change its labels when the subject was raised at last year's shareholder meeting. We look forward to the day when we can report that this has finally happened.

Wyeth offered to include under-lid leaflets, but this does nothing to warn mothers of the risks of artificial feeding unless they buy the product. The Malawi Government contacted Baby Milk Action recently to ask for continued assistance in encouraging Wyeth to change its labels. Wyeth has indicated that it manufactures baby milks destined for Malawi in Ireland. This means that it is bound by an Export Directive of the European Union (92/52/EEC) which calls for companies to label infant and follow-on formulas in the appropriate language for the country.

Write to Wyeth requesting that it labels its products for sale in Malawi in the national language of the country as required by the Government, the EU Directive and the International Code.

Complain to
Labels do not comply with Article 9.2 Mr. John R. Stafford,
CEO, Wyeth (American Home Products),
PO Box 8616,
Pennsylvania 19101, USA.

Nestlé's PR booklet exposed
No.3: violations in Bolivia

Violation Reference
Various activities
October 1998

Complying with the
WHO Code

Nestlé is a master of Public Relations techniques. Its latest booklet, Nestlé: Complying with the WHO Code, shown above, is intended to divert criticism of its baby food marketing activities. In the booklet Nestlé pictures the flags of 17 countries and implies that each country endorses Nestlé's marketing activities. However, closer inspection reveals that the statements alongside each flag come from one individual or organisation within the country. We have been examining these claims in greater detail on this action sheet to expose the truth about Nestlé's activities.

This month we look at Bolivia. Nestlé's booklet quotes the Sociedad Boliviana de Pediatra, Bolivia as follows: "At the same time, we emphasise that Nestlé has kept within the norms established by the Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, with a high level of ethics and in a very appropriate manner... It should also be mentioned that Nestlé has always respected the laws which govern the feeding of children in our country and has always encouraged and respected the principle that breastfeeding is the best way of feeding infants."

The Sociedad Boliviana de Pediatra has had a long-running relationship with Nestlé. Its periodical bulletin is produced and printed using Nestlé sponsorship. Nestlé is also the main sponsor of events organised by the Sociedad. So is the statement of support accurate? IBFAN Bolivia recently conducted a monitoring exercise and found that Nestlé violated the International Code in Bolivia by:

  • giving free samples of infant formula to mothers
  • giving posters promoting Nestlé infant formula to health facilities
  • giving gifts to health workers bearing the Nestlé logo and complementary food brand names
  • producing information materials on infant formula, follow-on formula and complementary foods which are not limited to scientific and factual matters
  • promoting follow-on formula and complementary foods at the point of sale
  • producing infant formula labels without all the required information

Nestlé also violates the World Health Assembly Resolution 47.5 in Bolivia by labelling complementary foods as suitable for use before the age of 6 months

Ask Nestlé:

  • to stop violating the International Code and Resolutions in Bolivia.
  • to declare the scale of its financial or other support for the Sociedad Boliviana de Pediatra (In 1994 the British Paediatric Association recorded an anonymous donation of £140,000 in its accounts. Members protested when Nestlé was exposed as the donor).
  • to withdraw its misleading booklet, Nestlé: Complying with the WHO Code.

Complain to
All the activities described are violations of the International Code Mr. Peter Brabeck,
CEO Nestlé,
55, av. Nestlé,
1800 Vevey,
Fax: 41 21 922 6334

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