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August 2003



The Community Practitioners’ and Health Visitors’ Association is pleased that Birmingham magistrates have handed out large fines to Wyeth, parent company of SMA Nutrition, for illegally advertising infant formula to the public.

The court decided that ‘information pieces’ placed in parenting magazines in 2001 were advertisements because they included the SMA logo and a list of ingredients, which identified the product. The company was fined a total of £26,000 and ordered to pay nearly £35,000 costs.

The district judge said: ‘This is a cynical and deliberate breach of the regulations.’

The case reinforced current UK regulations, which bans advertising infant formula directly to the public. However, under the same regulations, companies can still advertise formula to consumers within a healthcare setting.

The CPHVA supports the decision of Baby Milk Action and the National Childbirth Trust which has called for nurses to write to their MPs to call for a ban on all promotion of every type of infant formula, in line with International Code of Marketing for Breastmilk Substitutes.

The CPHVA’s Lead Professional Officer (Health Visiting), Obi Amadi said: ‘We are pleased about this ruling. Formula milk companies will have to change their practices because of this ruling. Health visitors need to pay more attention to promotional materials around them in the workplace, as sometimes these items, such as diary covers and pens, are seen by the public.’

‘We would support health visitors contacting their MPs – and their equivalents in the devolved assemblies - and lobbying them to fully implement the international code.’

‘I will be writing to Lord Warner, the junior health minister who has responsibility for "better regulation" policy, to voice our concerns.’

‘Members also need to think of new ways of campaigning for exclusive breastfeeding. The CPHVA will continue to campaign against the promotion of formula milk to parents and support the breastfeeding initiatives. "Breast is always best".’


For further information, please contact:

Shaun Noble Communications Officer ( (020) 7939 7043

mobile ( 07768 69 39 40

CPHVA press releases can be seen on the CPHVA web site:

 The CPHVA represents health visitors, school nurses, practice nurses and registered nurses working in the community in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The CPHVA is an autonomous professional section of the amicus trade union. MSF joined with the AEEU to form amicus, the UK’s second largest union, on 1 January 2002.


For further information, please contact

Shaun Noble Press Officer (020) 7939 7043 Mobile 0468 69 39 40 MSF

press releases can be seen on our web site:

Amicus/MSF represents 65,000 health service professionals including the Guild of Healthcare Pharmacists, laboratory scientific staff, the College of Health Care Chaplains, the Community Psychiatric Nurses Association, the Medical Practitioners' Union, clinical psychologists, speech therapists, the Hospital Physicists Association and the Community Practitioners' and Health Visitors' Association.

Amicus/MSF has 400,000 skilled and professional members in a wide range of industries. It is the UK's second largest union.