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Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) Lawsuits
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Find Out if Your Family Has an NEC Lawsuit

Our lawyers are pursuing claims on behalf of families with premature babies who suffered from necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) after consuming cow milk-based baby formula. Despite being aware of the dangers associated with feeding cow milk to premature babies, the manufacturers failed to warn new parents that their formulas contained cow milk.

If your child has been diagnosed with NEC after consuming Enfamil or Similac premature baby formula, we strongly encourage you to speak with one of our lawyers about your family’s legal rights. Your family may be entitled to significant financial compensation. Our lawyers can determine if your family has a claim, and if so, we can handle your family’s Enfamil or Similac lawsuit at no out-of-pocket cost to you.

Cow Milk-Based Formulas of Concern:

The formulas which are of concern for premature or preterm babies are the ones produced by Mead Johnson and Abbott Laboratories. Their products include both Enfamil and Similac cow milk-based formula.

While consuming cow milk as a substitute for human breast milk can be safe for infants who are born healthy after a standard nine-month gestation period, studies have shown that it can be dangerous for infants who are vulnerable due to being born prematurely.  Cow milk is one of the key ingredients in the Mead Johnson and Abbott Laboratories premature infant formulas.

What Parents of Premature Babies Need to Know About NEC

Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a serious disease of the intestinal tract in which the tissue lining becomes inflamed, dies, and can slough off. While NEC has various potential causes, one of these causes for babies who are born prematurely is the consumption of cow milk.

Scientific research on the link between cow milk and NEC in premature infants dates back to the early 1990s. Over the past 30 years, the body of evidence supporting the link between NEC and cow milk based formula for premature babies has only grown. Some recent studies have found that premature babies who consume formula containing cow milk exclusively can be up to 10 times more likely to suffer from NEC than those who are not.

In fact, today medical authorities including the U.S. Surgeon General and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) specifically recommend against feeding cow milk infant formula to vulnerable premature babies. The risk of developing NEC is simply too high—and there are plenty of alternatives available. Potential symptoms of NEC for premature newborns include:

  • Abdominal inflammation
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Diarrhea
  • Fluctuations in body temperature
  • Low blood pressure

While these effects are generally manageable in isolation, they all present risks for a variety of potential complications. As a result, many premature babies who develop NEC will experience tragic long-term effects. Some premature babies as a result of the NEC experience:

  • Bowel perforation
  • Cerebral palsy (CP)
  • Developmental delays
  • Intestinal perforation
  • Intestinal strictures
  • Abdominal distention
  • Bowel resections
  • G-tube feeding
  • Peritonitis
  • Sepsis
  • Death

How Mead Johnson and Abbott Laboratories Misled Doctors and Parents About Enfamil and Similac for Years

While the NEC risks associated with cow milk are well-known within the medical research community, they are not well-known to new parents. They also are not well-known to many doctors. Companies like Mead Johnson and Abbott Laboratories aggressively market their products to healthcare providers, and in doing so, they routinely tout potential benefits without addressing the attendant risks.

It appears that this is precisely what happened with Enfamil and Similac. Since Mead Johnson manufactures and sells Enfamil and Abbott Laboratories sells Similac, there is virtually no question that these companies were aware of the risks associated with these products’ ingredients. Yet, their packaging does not include a warning about these risks. As a result, when Mead Johnson’s and Abbott Laboratories’ sales representatives push Enfamil and Similac, healthcare providers assume it is safe for its intended use; and, when parents’ doctors recommend Enfamil or Similac (or when parents buy Enfamil or Similac off of the shelf), they have no reason to suspect that—as premature infant formula—it is not safe and in fact dangerous for their premature infants.

Mead Johnson and Abbott Laboratories have sold their formulas without warnings about the NEC risk for premature infants for years—and have even continued doing so in 2022 and beyond. Mead Johnson even markets certain Enfamil formulations with “premature” branding. Enfamil formulations containing cow milk include:

  • Enfamil 24 DHA & ARA Supplement
  • Enfamil Premature 20 Cal
  • Enfamil Premature 24 Cal
  • Enfamil Premature 30 Cal
  • Enfamil NeuroPro Enfacare
  • And more

Formulations of Similac that Abbott Laboratories has recently sold include: 

  • Similac® NeoSure® Premature Post-Discharge Infant Formula, Ready-to-Feed Baby Formula
  • Similac® NeoSure® Premature Post-Discharge Infant Formula, Powder Baby Formula
  • Similac® NeoSure® Infant Formula for Babies Born Prematurely Baby Formula, Ready to Feed
  • And more

This inadequate labeling is considered a form of “product defect,” and this means that parents can—and should—file claims for financial compensation. Numerous families have filed claims already, and Mead Johnson and Abbott Laboratories are currently facing lawsuits across the country.

What Health Experts Say About the NEC Risks Associated with Cow Milk-Based Infant Formula

Some parents may wonder, “Won’t Mead Johnson and Abbott Laboratories just deny knowing about the risks associated with feeding cow milk-based formula to premature infants?” While this is a valid question, the medical literature shows that this simply isn’t possible. Here are some examples of what health authorities have said about these risks over the years:

  • Johns Hopkins Medicine (2011): “The stark differences in the risk of NEC, its complications and the need for surgery between babies who receive human donor milk and those who get formula signal the need for a change in feeding practices across neonatal intensive care units.”
  • U.S. Surgeon General (2011): “For vulnerable premature infants, formula feeding is associated with higher rates of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC).”
  • Nutrients (2020): “Premature infants receiving breastfeeding have a lower incidence of NEC than those fed preterm formula. . . . [O]ur study shows a clear benefit of breastfeeding or, in its absence, with donated milk.”

Not only was this research available to Mead Johnson and Abbott Laboratories, but Mead Johnson has even claimed on its website that it was involved in studying the effects of cow milk consumption on infants—stating that it “collaborated on some of the most extensive breast milk studies to date . . . [and Enfamil is] clinically shown to promote catch-up growth similar to full-term breastfed infants.”

What Parents Should Do If Their Premature Babies Have Been Diagnosed with NEC After Consuming Enfamil or Similac

Given all of this information, what should parents do if their premature babies have been diagnosed with NEC after consuming cow milk-based formula, including from the Enfamil or Similac brands? At this point, we are encouraging all parents who have questions to contact us for a free consultation. While most families still have time to file their claims, there is a statute of limitations, and, with the volume of Enfamil and Similac lawsuits against Mead Johnson and Abbott Laboratories, there are benefits to filing as soon as possible.

FAQs: Should Your Family File an Enfamil or Similac Lawsuit?

Do Enfamil and Similac Cause NEC in Premature Babies?

Several medical research studies have shown that consuming cow milk-based infant formulas significantly increases vulnerable premature babies’ risks of developing NEC. This includes consuming Enfamil or Similac products. Most preemies who develop NEC as a result of consuming Enfamil or Similac begin to exhibit symptoms at two to six weeks of age.

What Are the Complications Associated with NEC Caused By Enfamil or Similac?

Due to its wide-ranging effects—and premature babies’ natural vulnerability—NEC caused by Enfamil and Similac can potentially lead to a variety of complications. This includes (but is not limited to):

  • Bowel perforation
  • Cerebral palsy (CP)
  • Developmental delays
  • Intestinal perforation
  • Intestinal strictures
  • Abdominal distention
  • Bowel resections
  • G-tube feeding
  • Peritonitis
  • Sepsis
  • Death

Even with prompt treatment, once a premature baby develops one of these complications, it can already be too late. The effects may be long-term (if not permanent), and they may result in death in some cases.

Has Enfamil or Similac Been Recalled?

No. To date, Mead Johnson has not voluntarily recalled Enfamil, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not ordered a mandatory recall. Abbott Laboratories initiated a limited voluntary recall of Similac for other reasons in 2022. But, participation in a recall is not necessary for parents to file claims. It now appears clear that Mead Johnson and Abbott Laboratories knowingly ignored—if not concealed—the risks associated with Enfamil and Similac for years, and this justifies claims against these companies regardless of any recalls.

Are There Alternatives to Enfamil and Similac?

Yes, there are alternatives to Enfamil and Similac—and this is part of the reason why parents can (and should) file claims. Doctors can recommend alternatives that do not contain cow milk, and now that there is significant publicity around the risks associated with Enfamil and Similac, they generally should make alternate recommendations for parents with premature babies. While parents should consult with their doctors regarding the options that are safe for their infants, two potential alternatives are (i) Prolacta, a baby formula that is human milk-based, and, (ii) pasteurized human donor milk available from the Human Milk Banking Association of North America.

Does It Cost Anything to File an Enfamil or Similac Lawsuit?

When you choose Martin & Jones to represent you, it does not cost anything out of pocket to file an Enfamil or Similac lawsuit. Our attorneys are providing free consultations for all Enfamil and Similac-related NEC claims, and we are representing families on a contingency-fee-basis. There are zero up-front fees or costs. If your Enfamil or Similac lawsuit is successful, our legal fees will be calculated as a percentage of the amount awarded.

Contact Martin & Jones About Filing an Enfamil or Similac Lawsuit

If you would like to know more about filing an Enfamil or Similac lawsuit, we encourage you to contact us for your free consultation. We can arrange for you to speak with an attorney in confidence at a time that is convenient for you. To start the process today, call 855-941-1805 or tell us how you would like to be contacted online now. 

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