Baby Formula Lawsuit – Similac & Enfamil NEC Lawyers

When cow’s milk-based baby formula like Similac or Enfamil is given to premature babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), it can cause a serious gastrointestinal disease known as NEC (necrotizing enterocolitis).

Necrotizing Enterocolitis Lawsuit Overview

The lawyers at Johnson // Becker are pursuing litigation against the manufacturers of Similac and Enfamil Premature Infant Formula products.

The cow’s milk-based formula product, Similac or Enfamil, is dangerous to premature infants in that it significantly increases the risk that a baby will develop NEC.

If your baby was born preterm or premature, was given formula while in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), and is suffering from a diagnosis of necrotizing enterocolitis or has sadly passed away from complications of NEC; you should be aware that you may be entitled to holding the manufactures of these defective products accountable by filing a lawsuit.

To contact us for a Free Case Evaluation, please visit our contact form or dial (800) 279-6386.

We would be honored to speak with you and respond promptly to every inquiry we receive.

Lawyers Provide “The Science” Behind The Lawsuit

For over thirty (30) years the manufacturers of baby formula have known or should have known, that their products could cause necrotizing enterocolitis. Unfortunately, they have failed to warn doctors and the public of the potentially deadly risks associated with their baby formula(s).

  1. As early as 1990 (over 30 years ago), a study on 926 preterm infants found that NEC was six to ten times more common in formula-fed babies. (LANCET Breast milk and neonatal necrotising enterocolitis)
  2. In 2016, a study of 1,587 infants was published in the scientific medical journal Breastfeeding Medicine. This study found that extremely premature infants who received an exclusive human milk–based diet had a significantly lower incidence of NEC and mortality. (Beyond Necrotizing Enterocolitis Prevention: Improving Outcomes with an Exclusive Human Milk–Based Diet)
  3. The Journal of Pediatrics published a study in 2010, that established when premature babies were fed an exclusive diet of mother’s milk, donor milk, and human milk fortifier, these babies were 90% less likely to develop surgical NEC. (An Exclusively Human Milk-Based Diet Is Associated with a Lower Rate of Necrotising Enterocolitis than a Death of Human Milk and Bovine Milk-Based Products)
  4. The U.S. Surgeon General published a report in 2011 stating, For vulnerable premature infants, formula feeding is associated with higher rates of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC)In the same report, the Surgeon General concluded that premature infants who are not breastfed are 138% more likely to develop NEC. (The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding) 
  5. In 2021 The Official Journal of The American Academy of Pediatrics published a study that included the following … “Meta-analyses of 4 randomized clinical trials performed over the period 1983 to 2005 support the conclusion that feeding preterm infants human milk is associated with a significant reduction (58%) in the incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). A more recent study of preterm infants fed an exclusive human milk diet compared with those fed human milk supplemented with cow-milk-based infant formula products noted a 77% reduction in NEC. One case of NEC could be prevented if 10 infants received an exclusive human milk diet, and 1 case of NEC requiring surgery or resulting in death could be prevented if 8 infants received an exclusive human milk diet.” (Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk)
  6. In a study published in 2014, it was reported: “Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a devastating disease of premature infants and is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. While the pathogenesis of NEC remains incompletely understood, it is well established that the risk is increased by the administration of infant formula and decreased by the administration of breast milk.” (Evidence-based feeding strategies before and after the development of necrotizing enterocolitis)
  7. A 2015 study stated in part, There is a 50% reduction in the rate of NEC and/or LOS and a shortened length of hospital stay among the extremely low birth weight infants receiving MOM [mother’s own milk]…” (In time: human milk is the feeding strategy to prevent necrotizing enterocolitis)
  8. A paper was published in 2017 that compared two Randomized Clinical Trials. The paper found, “both trials found that an exclusive [Human Milk] diet results in a lower incidence of NEC. The paper also concluded that the use of DHM or bovine milk-based formula significantly increased the risk of NEC. (Current Knowledge of Necrotizing Enterocolitis in Preterm Infants and the Impact of Different Types of Enteral Nutrition Products)

What is Claimed in Necrotizing Enterocolitis Lawsuits?

The science shows the dangers of cow’s milk-based formula products in causing NEC and death in premature infants, yet the manufacturers of Similac and Enfamil baby formulas have done nothing to change their product, packaging, guidelines, instructions, and/or warnings.

The warnings and instructions on their baby formula products are broad and vague. The manufacturer never warns that Similac or Enfamil can significantly increase the risk of NEC and death.

Despite knowing that its product significantly increases the risk of NEC and death, the manufacturers of these baby formulas have deliberately chosen to omit a specific warning of NEC or death and deliberately failed to provide any detailed instructions or guidance on how to avoid NEC or death when feeding Similac or Enfamil to an infant.

Manufacturers = Defendants in The Lawsuit (Not Doctors)

It is important to remember that the manufacturers of the various baby formulas are the defendants in the lawsuits. Doctors and Nurses who work in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) were not properly warned of the dangers in feeding Similac or Enfamil to your baby.

Similac Lawsuit

Abbott Laboratories, Inc. manufactures, designs, formulates prepares, tests, provides instructions, markets, labels, packages, places into the stream of commerce in all fifty states, and sells premature infant formula including Similac.

The various premature infant formula products made by Abbott Laboratories, Inc. include the following:

  • Similac
  • Similac Special Care
  • Similac Human Milk Fortifier
  • Similac NeoSure
  • Similac Alimentum
  • Similac Alimentum Expert Care
  • Similac Human Milk Fortifier Concentrated Liquid
  • Similac Human Milk Fortifer Hydrolyzed Protein Concentrated Liquid
  • Similac Human Milk Fortifier Powder
  • Similac Liquid Protein Fortifier
  • Similac Special Care 20
  • Similac Special Care 24
  • Similac Special Care 24 High Protein
  • Similac Special Care 30

Enfamil Lawsuit

Mead Johnson & Company, LLC and/or Mead Johnson Nutrition Company manufactures, designs, formulates, prepares, tests, provides instructions, markets, labels, packages, places into the stream of commerce in all fifty states, and sells premature infant formula products including Enfamil.

The various premature infant formula products made by Mead include the following:

  • Enfamil
  • Enfacare Powder
  • Enfamil Human Milk Fortifier Liquid High Protein
  • Enfamil Milk Fortifier Liquid Standard Protein
  • Enfamil NeuroPro Enfacare
  • Enfamil Premature 20 Cal
  • Enfamil Premature 24 Cal
  • Enfamil Premature 24 Cal/fl oz HP
  • Enfamil Premature 30 Cal
  • Enfamil Human Milk Fortifier Acidified Liquid
  • Enfamil Human Milk Fortifier Powder
  • Enfamil 24 and DHA & ARA Supplement

What is Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC)?

Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a serious gastrointestinal disease that affects approximately 1-1,000 premature babies. NEC is very rarely seen in full-term babies coming in at approximately 1-10,000 births.

NEC mostly affects the infant’s intestine. NEC causes the wall of the intestine to be attacked by bacteria that subsequently cause an infection that can ultimately lead to inflammation and the destruction of the wall of the bowel.

The destruction of the bowel wall may sometimes cause a perforation of the intestine that causes leakage of stool into the abdominal cavity causing additional infection and sometimes, unfortunately, death.

What Babies Get NEC? NEC Statistics.

Almost all babies who get necrotizing enterocolitis are born prematurely. Some accounts show that of the newborns that get NEC, nearly 90% are born preterm.

NEC will generally affect “preemies” (born before the 37th week of pregnancy, fed through a tube aka enteral nutrition, and babies weighing less than 5 1/2 pounds when born.

Babies Are Natural Born Fighters! Hopeful Prognosis?

According to the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, “Most infants who develop NEC recover fully and do not have further feeding problems. In some cases, scarring and narrowing of the bowel may develop and can lead to future intestinal obstruction or blockage. Another residual problem may be malabsorption (the inability of the bowel to absorb nutrients normally). This is more common in children who require surgery for NEC and lose a large segment of intestine. Still, there are some infants who lose so much intestine from the infection that they do not have enough intestine left to survive. These infants may end up requiring a bowel transplant to survive.”

If your infant was diagnosed with NEC, you should review the following article published by the NEC Society: 10 Things to Know When Your Baby is Diagnosed with NEC.

Bereavement Help & NEC Support Group

Unfortunately, not all cases of NEC will result in a positive outcome. NEC can be a devastatingly heartbreaking disease.

If you have recently lost a baby, we urge you to seek emotional support and help through whatever means is appropriate to your personal beliefs. There are many online support groups available specifically for parents and family members who have lost a baby to NEC.

One such group is called The NEC Society. Here is a direct link to an article they published titled, “10 Things for Bereaved Parents to Know”. The NEC Society also hosts a community support group.

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Do I Have a Premature Infant Formula Lawsuit? Contact an NEC Lawyer.

The lawyers at Johnson // Becker are pursuing litigation against the manufacturers of Similac and Enfamil baby formula.

The cow’s milk-based formula product, Similac or Enfamil, is dangerous to premature infants in that it significantly increases the risk that a baby will develop NEC.

If your baby was born preterm or premature, was given formula while in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), and is suffering from a diagnosis of necrotizing enterocolitis or has sadly passed away from complications of NEC; you should be aware that you may be entitled to holding the manufactures of the defective baby formula accountable by filing a lawsuit.

We offer a Free Case Evaluation. Please contact us using the form below or by calling us at (800) 279-6386.

We would be honored to speak with you and respond promptly to every inquiry we receive.

Free Case Evaluation

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