Spilled corporate milk in the Philippines

Author: Cher S. Jimenez, Asia Times, Published on: 25 July 2007

The case [being heard by Philippines Supreme Court] is being widely viewed as a crucial test of corporate social responsibility toward developing-country consumers. At issue is the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) recommendation that mothers should breast-feed their newborns exclusively for the first six months and continue to breast-feed for two years or more with appropriate complementary solid foods...Government health authorities, UNICEF and the WHO have all blamed aggressive and sometimes false advertising messages by milk companies for the extraordinarily low levels of breast-feeding in the Philippines… In response, the Philippine Health Department last year implemented the…Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations (RIRR) of the 1986 Milk Code, which already regulated the promotion and advertisement of infant formula but was never fully implemented and was loosely enforced… When milk companies represented by the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP) balked against the move, the Supreme Court…granted the PHAP…[a] temporary restraining order [on the policy’s implementation]... [T]he constitutionality of the RIRR's restrictions on advertising are now being weighed by the Supreme Court…UNICEF and the WHO…indicated that the court's decision could set an important precedent for…the region…Nestle, which it notes is not a member of PHAP, says it strictly adheres to international and local marketing codes for infant formula and has offered to engage UNICEF, the WHO and the Health Department in an "open and transparent dialogue". [also refers to Abbott, Wyeth, Mead Johnson (part of Bristol-Myers Squibb)]

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Related companies: Abbott Laboratories Bristol-Myers Squibb Mead Johnson (part of Bristol-Myers Squibb) Nestlé Wyeth (part of Pfizer)