I have a live-in partner, and we are expecting our first child by the last quarter of this year. We look forward to her breastfeeding our child, but we have also talked about the possibility of her not having breast milk. We have heard stories from our friends and relatives, who were not fortunate enough to have breast milk during the birth of their children. We noticed that every time we visit the OB-GYN, there are medical representatives, yet, we have not seen representatives of companies that offer milk formula. Do you know why this is so?
We are sure that you have heard the line, “Breast milk is best for babies.” And this is very true, as there are numerous essential nutrients in that aremother’s milk best suited for the infants’ needs. So, our laws encourage breastfeeding and provide certain restrictions in the use and promotion of breast milk substitute such as milk formula.
Representatives of milk formula companies such as manufacturers or producers of formula milk are generally proscribed by law from promoting the use of breast milk substitutes. To be certain, it is provided under Executive Order 51, otherwise known as the “National Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, Breastmilk Supplement and Other Related Products,” that:
“SECTION 6. The General Public and Mothers —
“(b) Manufacturers and distributors shall not be permitted to give, directly or indirectly, samples and supplies of products within the scope of this Code or gifts of any sort to any member of the general public, including members of their families, to hospitals and other health institutions, as well as to personnel within the health care system, save as otherwise provided in this Code. x x x
“(d) Manufacturers and distributors shall not distribute to pregnant women or mothers of infants any gifts or articles or utensils which may promote the use of breastmilk substitutes or bottle feeding, nor shall any other groups, institutions or individuals distribute such gifts, utensils or products to the general public and mothers.
“(e) Marketing personnel shall be prohibited from advertising or promoting in any other manner the products covered by this Code, either directly or indirectly, to pregnant women or with mother of infants except as otherwise provided by this Code.”
We believe that this is the reason why you and your live-in partner do not see representatives of companies that offer milk formula. If a representative of such companies is caught violating the abovementioned provisions, they are to face sanctions as provided under Section 13 of Executive Order 51, which include imprisonment or a fine, or both. In addition, the license, permit or authority issued by any government agency to any health worker, distributor, manufacturer, or marketing firm or personnel for the practice of their profession or occupation, or for the pursuit of their business, may be suspended or revoked. (Ibid.)
We hope that we were able to answer your queries. This advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to email@example.com