The parents of 33 children who were severely injured by intestinal side effects of baby formula are urging the Illinois Supreme Court to centralize their lawsuits in Madison County for pretrial proceedings.
All of the parents have filed lawsuits accusing Abbott Laboratories and Mead Johnson Nutrition Co. — the makers of Similac and Enfamil baby formula — of failing to warn about the risk of life-threatening gastrointestinal side effects when premature babies are fed formula instead of breast milk.
The companies are accused of aggressively advertising their cow’s milk-based baby formulas as not only safe, but necessary for the growth of premature babies, despite the risk of an “extremely dangerous” intestinal side effect called Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC).
NEC is a life-threatening and often fatal disease that causes severe intestinal inflammation, which can damage or destroy large sections of the intestinal wall.
Over the past 30 years, many studies have confirmed that NEC is far more likely to occur when premature babies are fed cow’s milk-based formula instead of breast milk, and yet the labels on formula products still fail to make any mention of this risk.
The lawsuits claim that baby formula companies’ marketing “exploits new parents’ darkest fears” that a mother’s breast milk is inadequate, “while wholly failing” to warn them that their baby formulas pose a significantly high risk of causing a deadly case of NEC.
The case is Destin Jupiter et al. v. Mead Johnson & Company LLC et al. in the Circuit Court of the Third Judicial Circuit (Madison County, Illinois) — Case Number 2021 L 000560.