Formula Bags Recalled – Entire Batch Lacking Adequate Vitamin C for Infant Growth

Sept 15 – Ross Pediatrics announced today that the company is recalling several lots of infant formula, including a batch given to new mothers as part of a “free gift” from their hospital.

The company reported that bottles in the recalled lots lacked appropriate levels of vitamin C. The problem came to the company’s attention when consumers noted that some of the formula was a very dark color.

Unfortunately, many hospitals do not record lot numbers when they distribute formula bags to patients. Without this information, hospitals can’t reach mothers and warn them about the defective product. The American Dietetic Association recommends that hospitals record lot numbers for infant formula administered to patients.

The recall illustrates the hidden costs hospitals bear when they participate in “free” gift bag campaigns. To avoid liability for distributing contaminated or defective formula, hospitals that give away bags need to devote staff resources to tracking lot numbers, checking expirations dates, and logging contact information for patients who go home with free samples.

Such clerical work diverts staff from patient care, all in the name of pitching high-priced formula to new families.

If your hospital continues to put drug company marketing ahead of patient care, take this opportunity to educate your colleagues:

  • Print the recall notice and post it in your hospital
  • Talk to appropriate personnel, such as the Risk Management Department, the hospital attorney, or the chiefs of pediatrics, obstetrics, and nursing. Point out the risks that your hospital is taking.
  • Point out the costs your institution assumes when it pitches brand-name formula to patients. Diaper bags require hospital resources to unload and store. Staff need to check for expiration dates and log lot numbers. In the event of a recall, staff need to be diverted to contact affected families. Why devote limited hospital resources to padding corporate profits?

A growing number of US hospitals have recognized that they have nothing to gain when they volunteer their services to pitch high-priced baby formula. Hospitals should market health, and nothing else.

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