The International Baby Food Action Network Newsletter

Former employee blows the whistle on corporate malpractice


Mr. Syed Aamir Raza, a former employee of Nestlé Pakistan, has documented evidence of wilfuly violations of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes by the world's biggest baby milk company, Nestlé.


  Violations documented include: instructions to give "gifts" to doctors and other health care professionals in order to promote and encourage the prescribing of breastmilk substitutes to new mothers; direct promotions to pregnant women and new mothers; and the use of the health care system to promote its artificial feeding products.

Mr. Raza has documented evidence that includes original documents signed by his supervisors that:

ã encourage the purchase of various items requested by doctors and other professionals in exchange for their "continued support." This "support" enables Nestlé promotion officers to gain direct access to new mothers and their babies in hospitals.

ã record "incentive bonuses" for attaining monthly sales targets -- specifically mentioning items prohibited by the Code such as breastmilk substitutes Lactogen 1&2, Al-110, Nan, Pre-Nan and complementary foods such as Cerelac, Neslac and Nestum.

ã provide free supplies, even though these directly contradict measures adopted by the World Health Assembly stating that free supplies should not be in any way part of the health care system.Nescafe spit

Some things leave a bad taste in the mouth

In Pakistan where artificially fed infants are more than 20 times as likely to die of infectious diseases during the first two months of life, compared to breastfed infants, it took the death of yet another infant because of inappropriate feeding practices to trigger Mr. Raza's resignation from Nestlé. With the help of a caring doctor, Aamir began to realize how unethical marketing practices affect the lives of babies and their families, and he learned of the existence of the Code. As a result of company policy, neither he nor his co-workers were aware of the Code; they had not been exposed to it during training as Nestlé employees. He subsequently issued the company with a legal notice citing all his documentation, demanding that the company stop its business of manufacturing and marketing its baby milks in Pakistan; he gave them a deadline by which they should withdraw all its infant food products from the Pakistani market. He also asked that the services of staff involved in unethical marketing practices be terminated. Nestlé reacted to Mr. Raza's charges by having the Area Detailing Executive and Group Brand Manager bully him alternately with bribes and threats to his life and the lives and property of his loved ones.

Fearful of the consequences, Aamir enlisted the help of the Pakistan IBFAN group, The Network (Association for the Rational Use of Medication in Pakistan). Since then, with the help of sister IBFAN groups, Aamir's exposure of Nestlé's wilful marketing practices have been widely publicized in the UK, Germany and Switzerland. Currently Aamir is in Canada continuing his quest to see Nestlé's malpractice exposed and to create awareness that these deadly marketing practices must be stopped, not only in Pakistan but worldwide.

In the meantime Nestlé as always denies the allegations and has commissioned an "external audit" of its Pakistani operations.

Top | Contents |