Mead Johnson, Maker of Enfamil, Loses Multi-Million Dollar False Advertising Case Against Store-Bran
PBM’s lawsuit claimed that Mead Johnson engaged in false and misleading campaigns against PBM’s competing store-brand of infant formulas, suggesting they do not provide the same nutrition as Mead Johnson’s brands. PBM’s store-brand infant formulas cost up to 50 percent less than Enfamil® LIPIL®. The $13.5 million in damages awarded by the jury in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia is one of the largest damages awards ever for a false advertising case.
U.S. District Court Judge James R. Spencer issued his written rulings yesterday following the November 10th jury verdict. Judge Spencer’s written rulings permanently enjoined Mead Johnson from making any false statements concerning PBM's infant formula, including the claims Mead Johnson previously made in Enfamil advertising that "It may be tempting to try a less expensive store brand, but only Enfamil LIPIL is clinically proven to improve brain and eye development," and "there are plenty of other ways to save on baby expenses without cutting back on nutrition." The Court also ordered Mead Johnson to retrieve from the public domain all advertising or promotional materials containing these or any other false claims about PBM's store brand infant formula.The details of the decision and the complaint are posted online in full at:
“This jury verdict should send a significant and clear message to Mead Johnson about the way it conducts marketing and advertising for its brands,” said Manning. “This lawsuit also demonstrates our complete commitment to defending our products and the valuable brands of our retail partners.”
“As a parent and supporter of children’s medical research, I take a personal responsibility in assuring our customers that the products we produce are healthy and nutritionally equivalent to brand names like Enfamil® LIPIL®. It is important, especially now, for parents to know that there are lower priced yet highly nutritious store-brand formulas that will provide the same benefit to their children as any national brand name formula product,” Manning added.
The U.S. infant formula market is estimated at $3.4 billion and the global market is estimated at $7.9 billion.
All of PBM’s formulas, and for that matter all of U.S. infant formulas, are subject to the exacting standards of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), pursuant to the Infant Formula Act of 1980. This legislation vested FDA with the authority to ensure that all infant formula products sold in the United States provide the necessary levels of identified nutrients required for the growth of healthy babies. For more information, visit this FDA link.
PBM Products was represented by the law firm Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP. Partners from the firm’s advertising practice, Harold P. Weinberger and Jonathan M. Wagner in New York, led the team.