IBFAN-ICDC LEGAL UPDATE

January – September 2o17   CLICK HERE

Topics highlighted in this issue:

  • IBFAN-ICDC Launches its 11th Global Monitoring Report
  • Reviewing a “Pioneer-Law” which predates the Code in Papua New Guinea
  • Code at the ASEAN Forum
  • Code for Thailand: One day in Bangkok
  • Kicking Off the New Year by Building Capacity for Code Monitoring in the Philippines
  • The fight for the first sip of milk: Nestle China employees convicted of illegally obtaining patients’ information from health workers
  • Fined! Nestlé Gets What It Deserves in Ecuador
  • Why is Singapore More Worried about Money than about Health?
  • Battle of Breastmilk vs. Formula Milk in Hong Kong
  • Health Professional Associations and Industry Funding: The Case of UK Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH)
IBFAN-ICDC Launches its 11th Global Monitoring Report
Breaking the Rules, Stretching the Rules 2017
Breaking the Rules, Stretching the Rules 2017 (BTR 2017) is a compilation of marketing practices from around the world that violate the International Code over the past 3 years. Collected from IBFAN’s regional and country groups and volunteers, it contains almost 800 legally-vetted entries on 28 companies from 79 countries. Marketing themes are identified, including those that are “stretching the rules” and practices that give rise to conflicts of interest. [Read more]
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To purchase BTR 2017 & To download Executive Summary for Free
ICDC UPDATES
Reviewing a “Pioneer-Law” which predates the Code in Papua New Guinea
Grand finale of the Government Stakeholder Workshop – ready for the way forward!
Supported by UNICEF, ICDC consultants embarked on a mission to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea in August to provide technical support to the National Department of Health (NDoH) on the review and revision of the Baby Feed Supplies Control Act (the Act). The Act was adopted in 1977, predating the International Code. Amended in 1984, it serves to restrict purchasing of baby feed supplies (which consist of feeding-bottles, teats, and dummies). The Act also prohibits advertising that intends to encourage bottle-feeding. Since the Act was adopted pre-Code, it does not cover many provisions in the Code and subsequent relevant WHA resolutions, thus is inadequate in addressing current and emerging promotion tactics that undermine breastfeeding. A revised law will also provide better support to the 2014 National Infant and Young Child Feeding Policy where implementing the International Code is key in their breastfeeding protection policy. [Read more]
Code at the ASEAN Forum

Asean Breastfeeeding Forum

As part of the celebration of the 50th Founding Anniversary of the ASEAN ( Association of South East Asian Nation), the Department of Health (DOH) of the Philippines hosted the 2017 ASEAN Breastfeeding Forum and Hakab Na (Latch Now)! from 3 to 5 August 2017 in the City of Manila. The theme of the event was “ASEAN Ugnayan (Connection): One Community Promoting, Supporting, and Protecting Breastfeeding.” Based on her work in building the capacity of DOH staff in monitoring the Milk Code of the Philippines, Yeong Joo Kean, ICDC’s Legal Advisor was invited to be part of a panel of experts for a parallel session on Implementing and Monitoring the Milk Code. [Read more]
Code for Thailand: One day in Bangkok
(Left) Women in black – ICDC Team with Thai trainers. (Right)  Senior advocates are on board alongside the young.
In April 2017, the National Legislative Assembly of Thailand passed the Control of Marketing of Infant and Young Child Food Act.  This Law gives effect to the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent WHA resolutions and was a process that took almost 20 years to culminate.
IBFAN-ICDC works strategically with the media/press to expose violations and through that to raise public awareness on the Code and unethical marketing practices. In July 2017, with support from UNICEF Thailand, the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) invited ICDC to conduct a training of trainers and to provide technical support for establishing a viable system for monitoring and enforcement of Thai Law. [Read more]
Kicking Off the New Year by Building Capacity for Code Monitoring in the Philippines
Interactive discussions generated throughout the workshop enabled participants to identify and clarify how they can each help to improve overall implementation within their own respective role.
From 17-19 January, IBFAN-ICDC embarked on its first capacity building assignment of year 2017 in Manila, Philippines – one of the earliest countries that adopted the International Code as their national law (Executive Order 51, commonly known as the Milk Code). The Code Monitoring Course was made possible through support from UNICEF Philippines and the coordinating efforts of Department of Health (DoH). Apart from representatives from DoH and Food and Drugs Bureau (FDA), it was attended by other relevant government departments such as Department of Trade and Investment (DTI) and Social Welfare Department (SWD), and civil society organizations such as Arugaan and World Vision. [Read more]
CODE-RELATED UPDATES
The fight for the first sip of milk: Nestle China employees convicted of illegally obtaining patients’ information from health workers 
According to a report from the chinese Legal Weekly (11/7/2017) six employees from Nestlé China including the regional manager, have been convicted for illegally obtaining patients’ personal information from hospitals in Lan Zhou, capital of Gansu province. To gain market share, the employees also sent samples of baby formula to hospitals for the purpose of passing them on to parents of new-born babies, a practice forbidden by Chinese regulations. [Read more]
Fined! Nestlé Gets What It Deserves in Ecuador
report from Elcormercio.com
In June 2017, the regulatory body on free markets in Ecuador imposed a fine exceeding USD 157,000 on the local Nestlé branch. This sanction was imposed for the unauthorised use of the name and emblem of the Ministry of Health of Ecuador on a leaflet about breastmilk substitutes. The leaflet entitled “Nestlé – Principos y Responsibilidad” (Nestlé – Principles and Responsibilities) was provided to hospitals and other health centres in Ecuador to show health professionals that Nestlé is an ethical company and Code compliant. [Read more]
Why is Singapore More Worried about Money than about Health?
A detailed investigation into formula milk prices by the Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) in May 2017 was widely reported in the media in Singapore. The report released by CCS called for a halt on aggressive marketing tactics of formula milks. Such tactics include inducements to hospitals in the form of sponsorships, gifts, and payments in exchange for their products to be in “first-mover advantage” – being distributed in maternity wards and to parents of newborns, and for their products to stay on longer on the milk rotation systems. While the Ministry of Health is riding on the attention of this report to “encourage” hospitals to adhere to the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) guidelines, the focus
of the media reports was primarily on the steep increase in price of formula milks. In light of IBFAN-ICDC’s concern regarding the lack of acknowledgement of the importance of the International Code and its functions to protect breastfeeding reflected in the media, ICDC submitted a letter titled “Focus more on protecting breastfeeding and infant health” to the Straits Times to iterate these important points. [Read more]
Battle of Breastmilk Vs. Formula Milk in Hong Kong
HK doctor, representing a Wyeth-sponsored child nutrition advisory group,
alluded that there is not much difference between formula and breastmilk.
After years of lobbying efforts by breastfeeding advocates, on 13 June 2017, the Department of Health in Hong Kong adopted the Hong Kong Code of Marketing of Formula Milk and Related Products and Foods for Infants and Young Children. The Hong Kong Code has an extensive scope and strong provisions banning promotion. Its main weakness lies in the fact that there are no sanctions attached to the voluntary Code. Leading up to the adoption in March, as breastfeeding advocates anxiously awaited the adoption of the Hong Kong Code, company affiliates also ramped up their fight. TVB, a major TV channel in Hong Kong aired a feature programme “Battle of Breastmilk vs. Formula Milk” during a prime-time TV talk show. Speakers included a well-known pediatrician, Dr. Lee Ka Yan, mothers, and a representative from the Hong Kong Infant and Young Child Nutrition Association (HKIYCNA). In the programme, not only did the pediatrician omit to express his support for breastfeeding and warn the public of the various risks of formula feeding, he actually insinuated that there is practically not much difference between breastfeeding and formula feeding. [Read more]
Health Professional Associations and Industry Funding: The Case of UK Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH)
In October 2016, the Council of the UK Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) announced its decision to continue accepting funding from baby food companies to support their activities. This is despite a successful motion adopted at RCPCH’s 2016 AGM for the practice to cease.  The decision by the Council of RCPCH, its formal decision making body, is a disappointment to many who look to the UK institution for leadership in matters affecting child health.  It sets a bad example for other national health professional associations. [Read more]

About IBFAN-ICDC

With a focus on implementation of the International Code worldwide, IBFAN-ICDC was founded in 1985.

IBFAN-ICDC

  • organised over 60 Code training courses from 1991 to 2016, trained over 2000 government officials and NGO workers from 148 countries
  • training had a positive impact on Code implementation in 77 of these countries
  • collects, analyses, and evaluates national laws and codes and other regulatory measures
  • conducts Code monitoring
  • periodically publishes handbooks and guidelines on Code implementation; State of the Code by Country report, and various monitoring reports. See all publications
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