Nestle under radar for testing on pre-term babies in India

Food giant Nestle, which is also a key maker of nutritional baby food and breast milk alternnatives for infants, is under the radar as per latest news, for conducting clinical tests upon 75 premature infants.

The baby food alternative and food giant got a number of doctors from 5 different hospitas who observed the development of 75 premature babies in the first 28-34 weeks of their gestation period during hospitalisation and admission in ICUs.

The study, titled, ‘Multi-centric Observational Study to Observe Growth in Preterm Babies,’ is against the very law which protects and promotes breastfeeding in the country, namely, the ‘Infant Milk Substitutes, Feeding Bottles, and Infant Foods (Regulation of Production, Supply and Distribution) Act.’

“This is a gross and blatant violation of the IMS Act and demands strict action by the authorities as an offence committed under the law is cognisable. BPNI was recently alerted to the fact that Nestle is brazenly flouting the Indian law which prohibits such manufacturers from sponsoring or funding medical research or financing any part of the healthcare system,” said Dr Arun Gupta, central coordinator of the Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India (BPNI).

This data important for innovation of their product would have helped the company to gain additional info for innovation, to embark on the mission of manufacturing and marketing its own branded formula milk for preterm babies. However, even the desire to do this goes against the age-old practice of breastfeeding, which is considered to be vital for the baby’s growth and healthy development.

The company is a manufacturer of infant milk substitutes and infant foods and all such products come with the disclaimer that they are not substitutes for mother’s milk. This research was undertaken to establish and promote its product range for mainly preterm babies, says BPNI. The five hospitals include Cloud Nine hospital and Manipal Hospital in Bengaluru, Institute of Child Health in Kolkata, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in New Delhi and the Calcutta Medical Research Institute in Kolkata.


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