Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Eradicating Booby Traps - good public policy that's good for taxpayers

Here's a great report from the California WIC Association on the costs of infant formula marketing and additives to taxpayers and mothers.  (Ed: here's the 2010 version.) It lays out in stark terms infant formula's competition with breast milk.  Formula companies come up with some new innovation or additive which they market as a supplement to breast milk.  WIC enters new bids on the product - which is more expensive - and then saturates the market and then companies have to come up with something else and the cycle begins again.

This costs all of us money and limits WIC's ability to provide needed services to the most people possible.

WIC is the nation's largest purchaser of formula - accounting for 60% of its sales.  That's us, y'all, we're the largest purchaser of formula.  Imagine if we flexed some public policy muscle?  Could we lift breastfeeding bars among our poorest residents?  Could we free money to provide more, better help in other areas?

The report lays out several public policy goals for Congress.

I haven't heard much about them working on this.

1 comment:

  1. While the recommendations from the WIC Assoc. are well and good, I'm thinking that more needs to be done in terms of social/economic support if we're going to see breastfeeding rates increase significantly. Things like availability of paid maternity leave and eliminating the economic liability for pumping at work (currently, you must be given time to pump but it's unpaid) seem to me to be bigger hurdles than the marketing. The marketing just makes the most convenient choice more palatable. Of course, these avenues are probably outside of the WIC Assoc.'s portfolio. I guess that leaves agitating about them to us.