Photo of "Son of Punggol" Dr Koh Poh Poon

In response to calls to reign on rising prices of baby formula milk powder, the Singapore government announced that they will ban “misleading” advertisement to discourage sales of expensive milk powder. The first victim singled out for the ban is Abbott’s Similac Gain milk powder, which have IQ on its cover. Although the term “IQ” was already labelled to stand for “intestinal quality”, the Singapore government find it unacceptable and misleading.

Photo from Abbott

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) announced the advertisement ban yesterday (May 9) and said that they will clamp down on other brands’ “misleading” ads, in a move to diminish the sales of more expensive brands and give the cheaper range a “level playing field”. This ban is the first in the world.

Milk powder is the most expensive in the world in Singapore and prices have inflated at least 120% in the past 10 years.

For example, Aptamil Gold for aged 6-12 months is selling for AUD$24.69 in local Chemist Warehouse store in Australia. However for the same range, it is selling for at least twice the price at S$54.00 in local NTUC supermarket in Singapore.

Minister Koh Poh Koon has earlier last week commented in Parliament saying that Singaporeans should go for cheaper option if they find milk powder too expensive, and blamed Singaporeans for wanting to pick the more expensive ones. However, no explanation was given whether why the same product cost much more in Singapore over other countries.