recently been censured by the South African Advertising
Standards Authority for its promotion of S-26 products
following a complaint by Nestlé and others. It
is disappointing that Wyeth has opposed the ruling.
Can you confirm that Wyeth will now accept the ruling
and stop its unethical and irresponsible promotion of
to argue that S-26 Promil Gold does not come
within the scope of the South African Code of Ethics
and similarly misrepresents the International Code
of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent,
relevant World Health Assembly Resolutions.
IBFAN monitoring report, Breaking the Rules, Stretching
the Rules 2001, demonstrates that Wyeth violates
these measures in many other respects.
may soon result in Wyeth and its parent, American Home
Products, being targetted by an action similar to the
popular Nestlé boycott, which is now active in
will be less likely if Wyeth indicates that it will
accept the baby food marketing policy of the World Health
Organisation (as set by the World Health Assembly Resolutions).
please provide a clear statement accepting that the
International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes
and subsequent, relevant World Health Assembly Resolutions
are minimum requirements for all countries?
following response was sent to a campaigner by Wyeth on 18th
October 2001. It is reproduced in its entirety.
refers to its blatant advertising and promotion (some of which
are described on the action
sheet) as "factual company and brand change announcements".
Wyeth also claims that it "promptly ended all
of the announcements" after the Advertising Standards
Authority ruled its promotion was violating the South African
is welcome if Wyeth has now removed its advertisments. However,
we note that Wyeth disputed that its advertisements violated
the South African Code. For example, in its response to the
ASA regarding television advertisements (18 May 2001) Wyeth
argued, as it so often does, that its follow-on milks are
not breastmilk substitutes and so can be advertised.
is recommended into the second year of life and beyond and
follow-on milks clearly substitute for breastmilk even when
used for infants older than 6 months. Therefore, they come
within the scope of the International Code. This point
was made by UNICEF's Legal Officer in a submission to the
European Parliament Public Hearing into Nestlé's marketing
malpractice in November 2000. (See
the full text of UNICEF's submission).
stated commitment to the Code should be read in the context
of the violations exposed by the Breaking
the Rules, Stretching the Rules 2001 monitoring report
and Wyeth's response to
are asking Wyeth to accept the World Health Assembly position
that the International Code and Resolutions are minimum
requirements for all countries. Wyeth does not do so in this
keep writing to Wyeth (see contact details on the action
e-mail to American Home Products Corporation
has been referred to me for a reply.
recently re-acquired its nutritional business
in South Africa resulting in a change in company
name and product brand names available in the
market. As part of this acquisition, Wyeth had
placed factual company and brand change announcements
in the market.
the South African Advertising Standards Authority
ruled that these announcements conflicted with
the South African Code ("Code"). Wyeth
promptly ended all of the announcements and
scheduled a series of discussions with the health
authorities to clarify the scope and implementation
of the Code which is based on the World Health
has confirmed its commitment to abide by the
Code to the South African health authorities
and the Advertising Standards Authority. We
have assured them of our cooperation and have
been engaged in regular dialogue with the South
African health authorities both at the national
and provincial levels.
[Baby Milk Action comment:
It is well documented that when the industry
'dialogues' it attempts to undermine the implementation
of the Code and Resolutions. It then uses the
fact it is meeting in its public relations strategy.
See the Cornerhose briefing paper Engineering
be assured that we remain committed to implementing