Hospital Hypocrisy on Sponsorship Must End

Marianne Aiello, April 18, 2012

For many hospitals, corporate sponsorship is a way of life. It’s how they can afford to build that much-needed new wing or invest in a suite outfitted with new technology. But recently, hospitals have been coming under fire for taking their corporate ties too far.

Last week, a Huffington Post article scolded hospitals for hypocritically giving new moms free formula samples while also extolling the benefits of breastfeeding. 

“Giveaways of free samples directly undercut hospital efforts to support breastfeeding and sends exactly the wrong message to new mothers,” writes the author, Robert Weissman, president of public advocacy group Public Citizen.

He certainly has a point. To be fair, Weissman also notes that today fewer hospitals give out formula samples than ever. A Centers for Disease Control study found that about 35% of hospitals had stopped distributing infant formula samples in 2009, up from 27% in 2007.

While encouraging, those statistics are not good enough for Public Citizen, which has launched an initiative urging the 2,600 hospitals still dolling out formula samples to end the giveaways immediately.

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