OneClickPharmacy breaking provisions of law and Code

Update 8 February 2012: OneClickPharmacy has removed these promotions after being contacted. Further details below the original report.
 
There have been reports of the online marketplace OneClickPharmacy promoting infant formula and feeding bottles with discounts and reward points. The screenshots below were taken on 8 February 2012.
 
As well as price reduction and reward point flashes on pages with discounted products, the heading text for the Bottle Feeding section of the site states:
 
The Bottle Feeding category has amazing deals from some of the UKs biggest brands. Buy from a fantastic selection of products from OneClickPharmacy.
 
Promoting breastmilk substitutes and feeding bottles violates the provisions of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. Promotion of infant formula is a violation of the Infant Formula and Follow-on Formula Regulations (full text available in The Law section) and so illegal and subject to a fine for every instance. The law clearly states:
 
Restrictions on promotion of infant formula
 
23.—(1) No person shall at any place where any infant formula is sold by retail—
 
(a) advertise any infant formula;
(b) make any special display of an infant formula designed to promote sales;
 
[...]
 
(d) promote the sale of an infant formula by means of premiums, special sales, loss-leaders or tie-in sales; or
(e) undertake any other promotional activity to induce the sale of an infant formula.
 
(2) No manufacturer or distributor of any infant formula shall provide for promotional purposes any infant formula free or at a reduced or discounted price, or any gift designed to promote the sale of an infant formula, to—
 
(a) the general public;
(b) pregnant women;
(c) mothers; or
(d) members of the families of persons mentioned in sub-paragraphs(b) and (c),
 
either directly, or indirectly through the health care system or health workers.
 
The issue is not so much that products are available more cheaply on the site - the mark-up on formula is amongst the highest of any products and it is overpriced, to the detriment of mothers and their families who use formula.
 
The issue is using pricing as a discount for promotional purposes. Aside from being promotional, short-term discounts give a distorted impression of the costs of formula feeding.
 
Reward points are an inducement to purchase breastmilk substitutes and there is no justification. 
 
This report is being sent to OneClickPharmacy with a call to remove the promotions immediately. It is also being reported to Trading Standards with a call that steps be taken to apply the sanctions provided for in the legislation.
 
Update 8 February 2012. The following response has been received from OneClickPharmacy:
 
Dear Mike,
 
Thank you for your email, your issue has been forwarded to me for review.
 
One Click Ventures Ltd was obviously not aware of this law as I suspect many are not.
 
Now that you have brought it to our attention, we have rectified the infant milk brands to add a code to our site that prevents any display of promotions apart from price. It was not our intention to disregard any treaties created by governments.
 
As the code promotes everything, by default this was displayed in the past, not intentionally but as part of the whole website’s catalog and algorithm that does not segregate unless told to.
 
- Infant millk is now rectified, please check and advise me that you agree.
- In respect of feeding bottles, we have excluded brands we could find like Avent and Nuk from promotions.
 
I have to say to put up violation listings on your site like that is a little drastic considering you have not even given OneclickPharmacy an opportunity to look into it and respond. Your concerns have even been fixed within hours or notification.
 
You say so yourself that we do not sell the milk products at cheap prices therefore discouraging its sales and hence promotions on them would not make any sense. This was simply due to website-wide technology promoting everything.
 
Nevertheless, I think the changes put right your concerns. If there is anything else you are not happy with or find might be of an issue, do get in touch.
 
Regards,
 
CEO One Click Companies
 
Mike Brady, Campaigns and Networking Coordinator at Baby Milk Action, and coordinator of the BFLG monitoring project responded:
 
Many thanks for your response and prompt action. As promised, we will add this to the report on the site and notify those who contacted us, and Trading Standards.
 
Please do check your algorithm, as I see that reward points are still being offered on the pages we highlighted.
 
It would be welcome if you included all breastmilk substitutes in the algorithm so they are excluded from promotions and reward points. For example, follow-on milks are also breastmilk substitutes and within the scope of the International Code.
 
Regarding our exposing this violation, OneClickPharmacy has broken the provisions of UK criminal law with respect to the infant formula promotion. Although you say you were unaware of the law, ignorance of the law is no excuse and apologising after the event does not mean that the enforcement authorities will not, or should not, take action.
 
As the International Code clearly states in Article 11.3:
 
"Independently of any other measures taken for implementation of this Code, manufacturers and distributors of products within the scope of this Code should regard themselves as responsible for monitoring their marketing practices according to the principles and aim of this Code, and for taking steps to ensure that their conduct at every level conforms to them."
 
It is not our responsibility to carry out this monitoring on behalf of manufacturers and distributors, it should be part and parcel of you systems. 
 
We hope that by exposing companies that do not meet their responsibilities under the law and the Code this will help ensure they do so in future.
 
I hope that you will agree to include follow-on milk in the algorithm. 
 
You will find information on the International Code and subsequent, relevant Resolutions of the World Health Assembly and the UK law on the Baby Feeding Law Group website. Please contact me if you require additional information.
 
The rewards points have also been removed on 8 February and follow-on formula added to the algorithm to exclude promotions.