Investigate the sale of four million cans of contaminated Wyeth formula milk in the Philippines! sign now

To counter the mounting pressure that US officials and businessmen exert against breastfeeding advocates and Philippine health officials to prevent them from strictly implementing the laws that protect breastfeeding, the initiator of this petition-signing helped organized two simultaneous breastfeeding Guinness World Records in single and multiple sites in the Philippines, synchronized breastfeeding worldwide, initiated Senate and Congress hearings in her country and many other advocacy events.

The campaign caught the attention of Wyeth insiders who provided her proofs of an anomalous sale of contaminated formula milk last May 2007. We humbly ask your help to circulate this petition among your network to help us seek justice for Filipino mothers and children.

Nona D. Andaya-Castillo, IBCLC
Director, Nurturers of the Earth
Philippine Lactation Resource and Training Center
TESDA Womens Center, Taguig City, Metro Manila, Philippines
[email protected]
[email protected]

To: The US Department of Justice
The US Senate
The People of the United States of America

Investigate the sale of four million cans of contaminated Wyeth formula milk in the Philippines!

Every year, the World Health Organization Philippines estimate that at least 16,000 Filipino children die because they were denied of their right to be breastfed. Those who survive the milk menace suffer from many illnesses associated with formula-feeding. Many times, mothers or caregivers would automatically be blamed for the deaths and illnesses due to improper or unsanitary preparation. The truth is, even if they were prepared under sanitary conditions, the milk itself may not be safe or sterile.

A case in point is an expose that the petition author did last May 2007, when she submitted a report about the sale of at least 4 million cans of contaminated Wyeth formula milk to the Philippine Department of Health (DOH). The Wyeth whistleblowers sent her the documents through email after they have closely followed their successful advocacy on breastfeeding. The report contained an office memo and a detailed account of the lot numbers and the supermarkets where the contaminated formula milk were delivered and sold, thus putting the Filipino children at a great risk.

The Wyeth whistleblowers recounted to the petition author that the accident occurred during the rainy season of 2006 when infant formula products were exposed to the elements in the Wyeth warehouse and developed leaks, molds, rust, discoloration and staining, a sign that microbes might have already invaded the stock. Wyeth discovered it only after releasing millions of pesos worth of such products to the distributors and the buying public. Instead of informing the Bureau of Food and Drug (BFAD) and issuing a public warning as our Philippines laws required, Wyeth deliberately concealed the information and tried to retrieve the products from their distributors as quietly and as secretively as possible.

It took the BFAD a few more weeks to verify the authenticity of the documents that she submitted before they issued an order to Wyeth to recall their products. The BFAD required Wyeth Philippines to publish the lot numbers in two leading newspapers that encouraged consumers to return the affected products to Wyeth. This is nearly impossible because the accident happened more than a year after the public announcement was published and most if not all of the affected stocks were already consumed at the time of the announcement.

Aside from losing huge profits, Wyeth has another reason to withhold the information from the BFAD. At that time, milk companies including Wyeth demanded a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) before the Philippine Supreme Court to halt the implementation of a set of implementing rules and regulations issued by the DOH to strengthen our laws that protect breastfeeding. Their admission of the industrial accident would have surely jeopardized their case before the Supreme Court. Eventually, the Supreme Court decided in favor of the DOH and the breastfeeding advocates but it is almost two years now and nobody was apprehended or punished for this heinous act and we even received the news that Mr. Perpetuo de Claro, the Wyeth Philippines Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at that time this tragedy occurred, was reportedly promoted to a global position.

We respectfully call on the US DOJ and the US Senate to investigate this matter for a possible violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and other US laws that will punish the perpetrators and to assist possible victims of the contaminated products.

We humbly ask the US DOJ and the US Senate to investigate the following Wyeth officials to ferret out the truth:
Mr. Perpetuo de Claro, CEO Wyeth Philippines
Mr. Luis Achacoso, Supply Chain Director
Mr. Ike Avenido, officer-in-charge of the warehouse
Brenda Cielo, Trade Marketing Department
Dr. Nerissa Calimon, Company Medical Director
Mr. Andrew Santos, Wyeths Vice President of Sales & Marketing
Wyeth distributors

We call on the American people to boycott Wyeth products until this matter is fully settled by the US DOJ and the US Senate. We call on American civil societies to assist us in securing justice for our children.

For more details of the case please visit the links below:
World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action:
http://www.waba.org.my/news/wyeth.htm
Associated Press
http://www.ap-foodtechnology.com/news/ng.asp?n=77759-wyeth-infant-formula-recall
Boston.com
http://www.boston.com/news/world/asia/articles/2007/06/20/breast_feeding_debate_in_philippines/
Philippine Daily Inquirer
http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/metro/view_article.php?article_id=72963

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Hattie NguyenBy:
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Petition target:
US Department of Justice, US Senate and the American people

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