Infant Formula Marketing in the USA

Dale D. Murphy

in The Structure of Regulatory Competition

Published in print September 2006 | ISBN: 9780199216512
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191696008 | DOI:

Series: International Economic Law Series

Infant Formula Marketing in the USA

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The overseas Nestlé infant formula case has been well studied. According to conventional wisdom the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF ‘code of conduct’, led by nongovernmental organizations and medical science, brought to heel a multinational corporation. At first glance the US infant formula case seemed to defy this book's proposed model. This chapter examines this case precisely for that reason, to test the propositions in a ‘least likely’ case. Developments in the USA reveal a picture marked by special interests and more compatible with this book's propositions. A revised interpretation is that Nestlé only agreed to abide by the WHO/UNICEF marketing code in 1984, more than a year after the two dominant US producers began a strategy to ban advertising as a barrier to Nestlé's growing entry into the US infant formula market. The US firms lobbied against the broader international WHO/UNICEF code at the same time as they opposed advertising in the USA. Advertising restrictions limit the sale or distribution of products, post-manufacturing, hence they are a product market-access restriction. Therefore, the US industry restrictions are categorized as a heterogeneous case of product market-access restrictions.

Keywords: advertising restrictions; infant formula; Nestlé; market-access restrictions; World health Organization; UNICEF

Chapter.  5718 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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