Infant Formula – NEC

Infant Formula Cases – NEC

Infant Formula lawsuits claim that premature or preterm babies – born at 37 weeks or less – who were fed Similac or Enfamil formula while in Neonatal Intensive Care Units were at an increased risk for developing Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) and did develop NEC.

Simon Greenstone Panatier  is representing the parents of premature or preterm infants who were fed Similac or Enfamil formula while they were in Neonatal Intensive Care Units and who subsequently developed Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC).

The products at issue are:

  • Similac Special Care
  • Similac Human Milk Fortifier
  • Similac NeoSure
  • Similac Alimentum
  • Similac Alimentum Expert Care
  • Similac Human Milk Fortifier 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
  • Enfamil Human Milk Fortifier Acidified Liquid
  • Enfamil Human Milk Fortifier Powder
  • Similac Special Care 30
  • Similac Human Milk Fortifier Hydrolyzed Protein- Concentrated Liquid
  • 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 24 and DHA & ARA Supplement

Similac and Enfamil brands of infant formula are allegedly linked to an increased risk of causing premature infants to develop Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC), a life-threatening gastrointestinal disorder. These baby formula brands are formulated specifically for premature infants, are widely used in Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs), who already suffer a higher risk of developing NEC. When this disorder results in intestinal necrosis, it can ultimately cause the infant to suffer organ failure, lifelong complications, or even in some cases to infant’s death.

Abbott and Mead Johnson are the formula manufacturers being sued for their products.

The Medical Literature Indicates An Increased Risk of NEC in Preterm and Premature Babies

Study after study has demonstrated the risk of feeding cow’s-milk-based formula to premature infants. In 1990, a study on 926 preterm infants published in Lancet medical journal showed that formula-fed preterm babies had a risk of developing NEC at six to ten times greater than their breast-fed counterparts.

In 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics published its findings that a mother’s own milk is “optimal” for premature infants, and in cases where this is not an option, donor milk would be “advantageous.”

What is NEC?

More than 90% of NEC occurrences develop in premature infants, and up to 8% of infants are admitted to the NICU.  According to the Mayo Clinic, premature newborns who consume only breast milk experience a significantly lower risk of developing NEC.

NEC causes a baby’s intestinal tissue to inflame, which leads to the tissue dying. This can prompt the formation of perforations in the infant’s intestine, enabling the leakage of bacteria into the belly or into the bloodstream. Because premature infants have weaker immune systems and digestive systems, they struggle to fight off infections. Premature babies also have diminished blood flow, and the resulting damage of oxygen not reaching the intestinal tissue can permit bacteria to enter the belly or bloodstream.

How Would I Know If My Child or I Had NEC?

While a diagnosis is generally required, we have found through our work that the diagnosis is not always listed in the medical records in black and white. So SGP’s legal team looks at the totality of the circumstances surrounding the premature infant’s ailment.

Symptoms and signs of NEC include:

  • Abdominal swelling and pain
  • Bloody stool
  • Diarrhea
  • Lack of weight gain
  • Lethargy
  • Unpredictable body temperature, blood pressure, breathing, and heart rate
  • Refusing to eat
  • Yellow or green vomit

NEC puts an infant at risk for multiple other health problems, including:

  • Developmental delays
  • Growth failure
  • Intestinal stricture (narrowing of the intestines)
  • Peritonitis (abdominal infection)
  • Poor neurodevelopment
  • Sepsis
  • Short bowel/gut syndrome


As many as 50% of the babies who develop NEC lose their life due to the disorder, and nearly 50% of the infants who survive develop “significant developmental and cognitive disability.”

If you feel that your child, or someone you know developed NEC after ingesting cow’s milk-based formula as a premature infant, please contact our SGP Intake Team today. We are here to help you navigate this issue.