Abbott Laboratories, Mead Johnson Sued for False Advertisement of Baby Formula

Two plaintiffs have filed suit against defendants Abbott Laboratories, Inc. and Mead Johnson & Company, LLC both individually and on behalf of their deceased child. The suit was filed on Sunday in the Middle District of Louisiana. The plaintiffs are alleging that the defendants engaged in negligent and wrongful conduct in the production of their Similac and Enfamil products, which were administered to their minor child and caused both his suffering and subsequent death.

The deceased, only two months old, died in mid-September as a result of “ingesting Defendants’ fortified milk baby formula for infants and preemies.” Born in early July, the baby was premature and went to the neonatal intensive care unit. After a few weeks of receiving donor breast milk, he was transitioned to Similac. On September 15, the complaint continued, he was referred to pediatric surgery after ingesting the defendants’ products since he was suspected of having contracted necrotizing enterocolitis, or NEC. The child passed away one day later.

The defendants, the complaint says, both manufacture and produce products that target the medical providers and parents of preterm infants. Some of these products are Similac and Enfamil, which include protein ingredients like nonfat milk and whey protein concentrate.

According to the complaint, recent studies link these ingredients to and increased risk of NEC. The underdeveloped nature of the immune system of pre-term infants places them at a higher risk of contracting NEC. The complaint added that American Academy of Pediatrics advocates for premature infants to be fed human breast milk as opposed to an alternative.

The plaintiffs argued that despite widespread consensus that human breast milk is safer than cow-milk based formulas and powdered products, the defendants allegedly falsely advertise their products as equally safe alternatives to breast milk, and in some cases even engage in marketing practices that discourage mothers from breastfeeding.

The complaint cites design defect, inadequate warning, breach of express warranty, redhibition and loss of consortium. As a result of their continued “severe and debilitating pain, suffering, mental anguish and distress,” the plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages, medical and funeral expenses, pre-judgement interest, litigation fees, and any other relief deemed necessary by the court. The plaintiffs are represented by Irpino, Avin & Hawkins Law Firm.