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Judge enjoins MJN formula ads

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

Private-label infant formula maker PBM Products prevails in false advertising litigation against Mead Johnson Nutrition. In U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Judge James Spenser issued a Dec. 1 1order imposing a $13.5 million fine against MJN and prohibiting the firm from implying that Enfamil LIPIL provides superior nutritional benefits than other products. The jury in the trial also sided Nov. 10 with PBM in MJN's countersuit alleging trade dress infringement. Joe Shields, communications director for Gordonsville, Va.-based PBM, said all U.S. formula products must meet the same regulatory standards, so no firm should claim superior ingredients or testing. "You can't get a formula on the U.S. market without clinical studies," he said. Shields added PBM is the leading private-label formula maker, with customers including Walmart and other national retail chains. It anticipates a sales increase with MJN enjoined from claiming superiority. The decision stems from one direct mail item MJN discontinued, said Christopher Perille, MJN's VP corporate communications and public affairs. "To the best of our knowledge, while others offer the same ingredients, no other manufacturer has documented the same or similar benefits in published clinical studies anywhere for any other infant formula sold in the U.S.," Perille said in an e-mail
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