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Report commissioned by Nestlé blames competitors for baby milk marketing malpractice in Pakistan

24th May 2000

Yesterday a report commissioned by Nestlé was launched in London to deflect criticism of Nestlé's baby food marketing activities in Pakistan. The report, produced by Emerging Market Economics Ltd. and Enterprise and Development Consulting, contradicts documentary evidence of malpractice in Baby Milk Action's possession. The report states that Nestlé staff and doctors (selected from a list provided by Nestlé) accused Nestlé's competitors of violating the baby food marketing requirements and claims that Nestlé is virtually perfect in its observance of the requirements (see note below and the report executive summary on Nestlé's website).

Despite stating that they were given unrestricted access to Nestlé's internal documents, the auditors did not investigate the claims of former employee Syed Aamar Raza, who is publicising documentary evidence of Nestlé malpractice, including bribing of doctors.

The auditors agreed with Nestlé not to contact Mr. Raza, Baby Milk Action or The Network - Association for Rational Use of Medication in Pakistan (which conducted monitoring in 33 cities, published as the report Feeding Fiasco in 1998).

Patti Rundall OBE of Baby Milk Action, who will be attending Nestlé's AGM on 25th May, said:

"We will go through the audit report carefully and we hope that Nestlé really has cleaned up its act in Pakistan. Internal company documents in our possession contradict the audit findings. We offered to provide information to the auditors when Nestlé informed us it was taking place. It is very disappointing that this offer was ignored as we could have given the auditors some pointers on where to look for evidence of malpractice. At the very least we would have liked to comment on the terms of reference for the audit."

Nestlé restricted the audit to infant formula, whereas the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent Resolutions adopted by the World Health Assembly also refer to other breastmilk substitutes and baby foods. The interpretation used by the auditors differs from that of WHO and UNICEF in many respects and appears to follow instead that used by Nestlé (some comments on Nestlé's Instructions to employees appear on the IBFAN website). Given the opportunity, Baby Milk Action would have informed the auditors of the criticism of Nestlé's interpretation and suggested that they seek independent expert advice.

For further information contact : Baby Milk Action, 23 St. Andrew's Street, Cambridge, CB2 3AX.
Tel: 01223 464420 Fax: 01223 464417 E-mail:

You will find the Milking Profits and Feeding Fiasco reports in Baby Milk Action's Virtual Shop.

Notes for Editors:

  1. Former Nestlé Pakistan employee, Syed Aamar Raza, has provided documentary evidence of malpractice, summarised in the report Milking Profits. This evidence contradicts findings in the audit report. For example, the auditors claim that small amounts of "impress" money are paid to Area Detailing Executives and that the gifts given to doctors are for buying "goodwill" and not for inducing sales of products. Mr. Raza has provided documentary evidence that his superior, an Area Detailing Executive, paid him large sums of "impress" money each month to entertain doctors and to buy gifts for health professionals to ensure he met his sales targets.

  2. WHO has made it clear that the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes should be read alongside subsequent resolutions adopted by the World Health Assembly and that these constitute "one and the same policy." UNICEF has in the past written to Nestlé, criticising its instructions to staff as too narrow.

  3. Nestlé's competitors in Pakistan include: Abbott Ross, NUMICO (producing Nutricia and Cow&Gate products), Wyeth (producer of SMA products), Snow Brand, Meiji and Morinaga. Nutricia, Meiji and Morinaga are mentioned by name on the questionnaire used in the survey of doctors. Monitoring conducted by the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) confirms that these companies as well as Nestlé violate the Code (the research for the report Feeding Fiasco was based on monitoring in 33 cities across Pakistan and included interviews with mothers as well as health professionals).

  4. Evidence of marketing malpractice from around the world by Nestlé and other companies can be viewed in the "codewatch" section. Also visit the "resources" section for past press releases and libraries of pictures which can be downloaded for printing.

  5. The executive summary of the audit report has been posted on Nestlé's website. It includes the following:

    "There is systemic pressure to breach the Code emanating from the market place. There is a view prevailing amongst [Nestlé] Medical Delegates and ADEs that their competitors violate the Code frequently. This was confirmed by the survey of health professionals, which found the same view prevailing amongst health professionals, albeit to a lesser extent. However, the Nestlé staff - both Medical Delegates and ADEs - believe that any commercial advantage gained by competitors would be of a temporary nature as in the long term, the technical superiority of Nestlé Milkpak's products, their competitive price, effective coverage of the country, reinforced by effective detailing on their part, would help to recapture any loss of market share. Thus it can be concluded that although there is systemic pressure, it is mitigated by the culture within Nestlé Milkpak that strongly emphasises the scientific basis and technical superiority of its products."

Some news reports on Nestlé in Pakistan on the Internet:

British Medical Journal, 18th February 2000

The Times, 16th February 2000

Western Mail, 16th February 2000


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