BEIJING, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese health authority on Tuesday told hospitals to strictly abide by the law governing breast milk substitutes, warning against promoting such products.
The National Health and Family Planning Commission made the remarks after local media reports alleged secret deals between hospitals in Tianjin City and infant formula brands over newborns' feeding options.
The commission stressed in a circular that medical institutions may not accept donations, kickbacks or benefits in other forms from manufacturers or marketers of breast milk substitutes.
Violators shall be investigated and penalized strictly in accordance with the law. Those whose acts constitute commercial bribery shall be subject to criminal charges, the commission said.
Promotion and publicity of breast milk substitutes in any form is prohibited at hospitals and clinics, the circular said, adding that hospitals or their staff must not promote or supply such products to pregnant women or newborns' families.
Instead, hospitals and their staff are urged to actively promote breast feeding and facilitate newborns' access to colostrum, according the circular.