Is there a lawsuit against Similac and Abbott Laboratories?
Yes, Similac lawsuits are being pursued for families of premature infants diagnosed with necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) after being fed this cow’s milk-based baby formula or breast milk fortifier.
Similac recall lawsuits are also being pursued for families of children who suffered Salmonella or Cronobacter sakazakii infections after consuming Similac, Alimentum or EleCare formula that was recalled in February 2022, after the FDA became aware of at least three confirmed illnesses and one death.
Financial compensation may be available through a Similac formula lawsuit against Abbott Laboratories if your baby developed a serious gastrointestinal injury from contaminated formula or NEC, which may develop suddenly in the NICU, hospital or shortly after discharge, often resulting in surgery, life-long disability or wrongful death.
Several different types of Similac premature baby formula sold by Abbott Laboratories are involved in the NEC lawsuits, including:
- Similac Special Care Premature 20 calorie, 24 calorie, 30 calorie and High Protein are fortified formulas advertised for infants born prematurely or with low birth weight, which is prescribed and used under medical supervision.
- Similac NeoSure is a nutrient-enriched cow’s milk formula designed to be used by premature babies after discharge from the hospital.
- Similac Alimentum and Similac Alimentum Expert Care is a cow’s milk-based hypoallergenic formula for infants, which is marketed for babies with food allergies, sensitivity to intact protein, protein maldigestion, or fat malabsorption.
- Similac Human Milk Fortifier is intended to supplement breast milk, and may be used under medical supervision for premature and low-birth-weight infants to improve growth. However, this is also a cow’s milk Similac formula that may cause NEC.
In February 2022, Similac recalls were issued for a number of different powdered formula products manufactured at an Abbott facility in Michigan, following reports of severe injuries and infant deaths caused by Salmonella Newport and Cronobacter sakazakii infections, including:
- Similac Total Comfort Powder
- Similac for Spit Up Formula
- Similac PM 60/40 Formula
- Similac Sensitive Formula
- Similac Advance Formula
- Alimentum Powdered Formula
- EleCare Infant Formula
- EleCare Jr. formula
Why should I sue Similac for NEC (Necrotizing Enterocolitis)?
Although Abbott Laboratories knew or should have known that Similac causes NEC for premature babies at greater rates than breast milk, versions of these cow’s milk-based formulas were marketed as safe and effective for hospitals, doctors and families of preemies.
As the makers of Similac, Abbott Laboratories had a duty to adequately research the safety of their baby formula and provide proper warnings about the potential Similac NEC risk. However, lawsuits allege that the company has placed it’s desire for profits before the safety of preterm babies, by ignoring decades of medical research and continuing to promote Similac for premature infants.
NEC from Similac is a devastating complication, often resulting in the need for emergency surgery or leading to an infant’s wrongful death. For babies who survive a NEC diagnosis caused by Similac, they may be left with long-term side effects and the need for life-long care.
If accurate information about the link between Similac and NEC for premature babies had been provided by Abbott Laboratories, many families may have avoided the loss of their child or substantial medical expenses and would not be forced to pursue a Similac NeoSure lawsuit, Similac Special Care Lawsuit, Similac Alimentum Lawsuit, or Similac Human Milk Fortifier lawsuit.
Financial compensation and benefits may be available through a Similac NEC settlement. Lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. provide free consultations and claim evaluations for families throughout the United States, and there are no fees or expenses unless a recovery is obtained for your family.
Does Similac Cause NEC?
Decades of research has found that the risk of NEC from Similac and other cow’s milk formula is substantially greater among premature babies, compared to being fed breast milk.
In 1990, a study published in the medical journal The Lancet highlighted the link between cow’s milk formula like Similac and NEC, indicating that premature babies born at more than 30 weeks gestation may be 20 times more likely to develop this condition than babies fed breast milk.
At that time, researchers warned that the increasing use of baby formula in the NICU may be causing hundreds of extra cases of NEC each year, with about 1 in 5 infants dying from the condition.
Similac may be the cause of the NEC virus in premature babies when intestinal tissue becomes inflamed or dies shortly after premature infants are fed the cow’s milk formula. These problems often progress very rapidly from mild feeding problems to systemic and life-threatening infections, surgical procedures and wrongful death.
How do you know if your baby has NEC from Similac?
Most symptoms of a Similac NEC diagnosis become apparent within days. The most obvious signal includes swelling of the abdomen (abdominal distension), which may be confused with bloating.
Other signs of NEC from Similac may include:
- Vomiting, specifically green/yellow vomit containing bile
- Severe diarrhea
- Bloody stools
- Trouble feeding
- Delayed gastric emptying and constipation
- Decreased peripheral perfusion
- Tender, red, or painful abdomen
- Decreased bowel sounds
- Slowed heart rate (bradycardia)
- Low blood pressure (hypotension)
- A low or unstable body temperature
- Abdominal wall erythema (advanced stages)
- Shock (in advanced stages)
- Cardiovascular collapse (advanced stages)
What are long-term problems from a Similac NEC diagnosis?
Unfortunately, many babies do not survive a Similac NEC diagnosis, and those families may be eligible to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. However, for families of infants who required surgical NEC treatments after Similac was fed in the NICU or hospital, they are often left with long-term disabilities that require substantial treatment and care.
Children may require NEC surgery or procedures to correct intestinal scarring, adhesions on bowel resection. In some cases, the child may require tube feedings or a colostomy throughout the remainder of their life.
Other Long term complications from a Similac NEC diagnosis may also include:
- Neurodevelopmental delay
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Failure to thrive
- Strictures and adhesions of the bowel
- Short bowel syndrome
- Intestinal failure
Does Similac Human Milk Fortifier cause NEC?
Similac breast milk fortifier is actually a cow’s milk-based formula, which has also been linked to NEC among premature infants in Similac lawsuits filed by families nationwide.
Abbott Laboratories developed Similac Fortifier following a shift in the medical community towards an exclusive breast milk based diet for premature infants, which was impacting sales of their popular products.
Although the names of Similac fortifier products misleadingly suggest that it is derived from human breast milk, it is actually cow’s milk-based product, which may carry the same NEC risks as Similac NeoSure and Similac Premature Infant Formulas. The lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. are also pursuing Similac Human Milk Fortifier NEC lawsuits for families nationwide.
Why didn’t Abbott warn about the problems with Similac and Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC)?
Although Abbott Laboratories — the makers of Similac — engaged in aggressive marketing for their baby formula through hospitals and doctors, very little information has been provided about the link between Similac and NEC for premature infants.
Infants who are born preterm or prematurely require specific nutrition plans in order to grow at an acceptable rate. These nutrition plans may involve mother’s milk, human donor milk (milk donated by another mother), or non-cow’s milk based supplemental formula. These are considered to be the safest plans for premature babies, as human milk is easier to digest. Human milk also contains substances and bacterias that help fight infection and help the babies’ intestines mature.
Abbott Laboratories specifically designed and sold certain Similac formula for use among vulnerable premature babies, marketing the product as safe and effective. As a result, doctors and hospitals have often recommended Similac as a replacement or supplement for human milk. However, this was largely based on a lack of information disclosed by the manufacturer and false or misleading statements provided to the medical community.
Although science and research have existed for decades confirming the link between NEC and baby formula made from cow’s milk, Similac lawsuits allege that the warnings remained overly broad and vague. Similac Special Care warnings indicate that very low birth-weight infants are “susceptible to gastrointestinal complications”, and other label information indicates that feeding should be initiated cautiously. However, this provided incomplete information for doctors and families, as the Similac warnings failed to ever mention that the baby formula significantly increases the risk of NEC and death for premature infants.
Is Similac FDA Approved?
The FDA does not approve infant formulas before they are marketed to hospitals, doctors and families. However, all baby formula marketed in the United States must meet federal nutrient requirements, and manufacturers must notify the FDA prior to marketing a new formula.
Many of the formulas used for premature babies are considered exempt infant formulas. These are formulas intended for use by infants who have inborn errors of metabolism or low birth weight, or who otherwise have unusual medical or dietary problems.
Prior to any company manufacturing and marketing a new exempt infant formula, certain practices, procedures and processes must be followed, and the FDA provides guidance on the manufacturing and marketing practices, and procedures.
Why didn’t our doctor tell us the Similac risks?
Similac and other infant formula companies have engaged in years of extensive and aggressive marketing campaigns that targeted the medical community and families. The baby formula has been sold as an equally safe alternative to breast milk, leading doctors to believe Similac was safe for premature infants.
Advertisements and packaging labels claim that Similac increases a babies’ weight and caloric intake, indicating that the baby formula is beneficial for preemies. In some instances, Similac has been promoted as necessary for premature infants, providing additional nutrition and growth they need to gain weight before discharge.
Medical providers reasonably relied on the warnings, instructions and research provided by Abbott Laboratories. However, Similac lawsuits allege that the manufacturer ignored and concealed years of strong medical evidence establishing the dangers that cow’s milk-based products pose for premature infants.
In July 2022, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued an updated policy statement, calling for hospitals and the government to promote breastfeeding as the primary form of nutrition for newborns, stating;
The updated policy statement was accompanied by a supporting technical report which indicates “Mother’s milk for very low birth weight infants in the NICU provides short- and long-term health benefits, including reduction of necrotizing enterocolitis, late-onset sepsis, chronic lung disease, and retinopathy of prematurity in addition to improved neurodevelopment.”
Although researchers and medical experts now widely recommend human breast milk be used exclusively for premature infants, Abbott Laboratories continues to sell Similac for premature infants, without adequately disclosing this information.
Is there a recall of Similac formula?
Yes, a Similac formula recall was issued in February 2022, after it was discovered that certain Similac, Alimentum and EleCare formula manufactured at a Michigan facility was contaminated with bacteria that may cause Salmonella Newport and Cronobacter sakazakii infections, as well as meningitis, sepsis and other life-threatening injuries.
While the 2022 Similac recall was not issued due to the risk of NEC for premature babies, it appears Abbott knew about the Similac contamination problems for months before recalling the formula.
Similac recall class action lawsuits and individual injury claims are being pursued for families nationwide, alleging that Abbott Laboratories failed to put adequate quality control measures in place to make sure Similac baby formula was safe and free of harmful Salmonella and Cronobacter sakazakii bacteria, and concealed information about the contamination risks.
Similac NEC Lawsuit Settlements May Be Available
If your baby was born preterm or premature, was given Similac formula while in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and suffered from a diagnosis of NEC, Similac settlement benefits may be available for your family.
Through a Similac lawsuit, our lawyers will seek financial compensation for:
- Similac wrongful death claims;
- Hospital bills and NEC treatments;
- Life-long therapy, medical equipment and services a child needs;
- Daycare and after-car services
- Support and counseling for you and your family
The lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. are also pursuing Enfamil NEC lawsuits against the makers of this other cow’s milk-based baby formula. All Enfamil and Similac formula lawsuits are pursued by the attorneys at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. on a contingency fee basis, which means that there are never any out-of-pocket costs to hire our law firm.
Free consultations and claim evaluations are provided to help determine if your family may be eligible for a Similac NEC lawsuit settlement, and there are no fees or expenses unless a recovery is obtained.