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Danone bribes hospitals to push baby milk

2013-09-17 13:21 CNTV Web Editor: Li Yan

A new baby formula scandal is involving corruption in hospitals. More than 20 million babies are born in China each year. 70 percent of are fed with milk formula. The government has banned hospitals from marketing milk powder. But that hasn't stopped it happening.

This baby was born not long ago in Tianjin, and has just finished the milk formula given by a nurse.

Family member said, "The hospital prepared this, we know nothing about it."

CCTV asked around mothers and their families but none seem to have any knowledge about the first milk their baby receives.

"First milk? I don't know. I never asked them, the hospital must have arranged this. They never asked me."

Most of of the time, the newborns are in this room, fed with milk powder provided by the hospital. The mothers don't have a say.

Investigations lead to a contact who used to work for the dairy company Danone Dumex as a sales manager. She told CCTV this disturbing fact.

"You give money. Every year we worked with the hospitals and gave them money. Hundreds of thousands, there's a secret agreement."

That secret is explained on this sheet the contact sent us.

It's a name list of the doctors and nurses who receive money from the dairy company under the guise of "sponsorship".

Pretending to represent a dairy company, Our reporter also contacted one of the doctors on the list who agreed to meet up.

"You can sponsor academic activities at the hospital. 10,000 to 20,000 yuan.

This nurse says they receive kick-backs if they successfully introduced one can of powder to the baby's parents.

This is confirmed by a shop owner in the hospital.

"You have to get the nurses to promote for you. Otherwise, this brand, for instance, only one can was sold in half a year."

Cut-throat competition between dairy companies for the first feed of milk a baby takes. Another former business practitioner tells us why.

"As soon as the baby is born, it doesn't matter if you agree or not, it doesn't matter if the mother can breast feed or not, the baby is fed with milk powder. It's the norm."

Reporter," When the first sip is from Dumex, what impact will it have on the baby?"

"She'll reject the mother's breast milk, the taste is different."

After this story was broadcast, Our reporter approached the Beijing office of Dumex.

There were clearly people inside, but no one came to the door.

And so far, calls to the office chief have gone unanswered.

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