HONDURAS – Is Abbott really promoting breastfeeding?

Code Violations
Stretching the rules


Abbott Laboratories
100 Abbott Park Road
Abbott Park,
Illinois 60064-3500

Abbott distributed booklets on what appears to be ‘the benefits of breastmilk’ at the National Congress of Honduras Pediatric Association held at Hotel Clarion, Tegucigalpa from 21 to 23 February, 2019.

Conflict of interest is embedded in these materials as Abbott’s primary interest is in making profits from selling formula products. Hence, Abbott’s duty to its shareholders to make profits for the company conflicts with promoting breastfeeding. However, a good image definitely helps to induce sales for the company even if that means having to portray themselves as ‘supporters of breastfeeding’.

Like many other companies, Abbott gives out these ‘informational materials’ which highlight the “benefits” of breastmilk or breastfeeding at professional conferences or events. In most cases, these materials will usually omit the risks of NOT breastfeeding.

In the Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding (endorsed by WHA resolution 55.25 [2002]), the role of companies are confined to ensuring quality of products and compliance with the International Code as well as national measures. Therefore, companies’ participation in activities or events that involve breastfeeding promotion is beyond the scope of their duty and is a call for concern.

International Code violators like Abbott should not act as an advocate of breastfeeding.