Revista de Saúde Pública
Print version ISSN 0034-8910
REA, Marina Ferreira and TOMA, Tereza Setsuko. Protection of mother's milk and ethics. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2000, vol.34, n.4, pp. 388-395. ISSN 0034-8910. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-89102000000400012.
INTRODUCTION: In 1981, the World Health Assembly created the International Code for the Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes. The WHO standards have been effective in Brazil since 1988. The purpose of this study was to verify the companies' compliance with these standards, especially to what concern health care professionals. METHODS: An exploratory research was carried out in 32 cities, interviewing 95 health professional. RESULTS: Here we describe results of interviews with health professionals and their relationship with companies. Promotion of infant formula through pediatricians is common, showing evident conflict of interest: financial support they got for their benefits might link their names to the companies (and the products) that direct or indirectly funded them. There is a conflict of interest each time a secondary intention changes professional attitude (for example, changing methodology, analysis or type of results to be published) favoring this, instead of a scientific approach. CONCLUSIONS: Both the Code and the Resolution, gathering several ethical rules, are apparently not sufficient to assess the possible conflict of interest and to impose ethical limits in the relationship paediatrician-infant formula companies. Policies to protect breastfeeding practices of commercial interest must be reviewed to include ethics.
Keywords : Milk substitutes [standards]; Ethics, medical; Marketing; Weaning; Food industry; Commerce; Mother's milk.