The Ministry of Health is asking the public for their opinion on new regulations regarding advertising of baby milk powder, according to the Beijing Daily Wednesday. If passed, new regulations will ban the advertising and other forms of promotion of the powder.
Not only baby milk powder salesmen, but also hospitals and doctors must adhere to the new regulations.
The regulations aim to encourage breastfeeding, said the draft.
The draft bans all methods of sales promotion of baby milk powder, including price reductions, sales promotions with gifts or samples and even circulating product brochures.
The new regulations are much stricter than current ones, which only prohibit sales promotions including gifts and price reductions.
Besides producers and sellers, the advertisers will be regulated as well. The new regulation bans everything related to advertisements, even advertisement design, production, publishing and displays.
Just as cigarette packs don eye-catching words discouraging smoking, the new regulations require baby milk powder packaging to bear a slogan encouraging breastfeeding.
Hospitals and doctors will be required not to be involved with promotion or sales of the baby milk powder.
According to the Guangzhou-based New Express Daily Wednesday, famous online shops dangdang.com, amazon.cn and 360buy.com have taken advertisements for the milk off their websites.
A baby milk powder salesman complained to the New Express he could not understand reasons for the muzzling of baby milk powder. An anonymous lawyer told the New Express the regulations stifle market competition.
Wei Xiaolan, a doctor at Peking University First Hospital, said many baby milk powder sellers promote their products in hospital. "Although there has been regulations against that since 1995, the supervision is insufficient," said Wei.
"Breastfeeding is better," she said. "Milk powder is only good when the baby cannot be fed with breastmilk for some reason."