Hygeia questions the recently issued state bid notification for breastpumps
In the USA, each state is responsible for its Women Infant Children program and encourages breastfeeding through lactation counseling and the purchase of supplies. A state bid notification for breastpumps and supplies was recently issued. “This bid had such an unusual feature that needs further attention. The bid’s breastpump requirement was that the pumps only had to work for 90% of the women. The state felt that it was acceptable for the pumps to fail for 10% of the women,” stated John Estill, CEO of breastpump manufacturer Hygeia.
Hygeia questioned the state about this bid and whether the supplier would have to replace these failure pumps. The state responded that it’s accepted that pumps will not work for a certain amount of women and there was no expectation that the non-working breast pump be replaced.
“This seems to be a common industry standard,” continued Estill. “Indeed most pump companies place the burden of buying a pump squarely on the shoulders of the mothers, many of whom are uninformed as to choices available. The labeling on most breastpumps states that they ‘cannot be returned’ for hygienic reasons.”
What message does this send to the individual woman who failed at breastfeeding due to an inappropriate or defective pump? Why should such a mother be left with a pump that doesn’t work for her? “At the very least, these non-return policies take advantage of women and shift blame of failure from supplier to the mother,” commented Estill.
“Imagine if 10% of the blood glucose meters were defective and consumers couldn’t return them. Or that 10% of the blood pressure readers didn’t work and the manufacturer said it’s the consumer’s fault for buying the wrong unit at the drug store. These situations are really unimaginable. Why then, are breastpumps, which are solely designed for women, subject to the reverse – that it’s their ‘fault’ mothers picked the wrong pump and tough luck for them?
“At Hygeia, we feel that if a pump does not work for a mother and sustain her milk supply, then it is the manufacturer’s responsibility and not the mother’s. Hygeia stands alone in our dedication to provide women with a basic right to pumps that work for them, or offer them a refund or exchange. We call this our Total Compatibility Guarantee,” concluded Estill.
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