Active Stocks
Fri Apr 12 2024 15:57:45
  1. Tata Steel share price
  2. 163.50 -1.00%
  1. NTPC share price
  2. 362.00 -0.32%
  1. ITC share price
  2. 430.10 -1.56%
  1. HDFC Bank share price
  2. 1,518.90 -1.10%
  1. State Bank Of India share price
  2. 766.75 -1.57%
Business News/ Companies / News/  Abbott Laboratories faces another FTC investigation over baby formula shortage
BackBack

Abbott Laboratories faces another FTC investigation over baby formula shortage

Last month, Abbott received a civil investigative demand from the US FTC seeking information in connection with its probe of companies that participate in bids for formula contracts

The investigation could lead to a lawsuit by the FTC if the agency finds Abbott engaged in anticompetitive conduct, such as collusion with other manufacturers on pricing. (REUTERS)Premium
The investigation could lead to a lawsuit by the FTC if the agency finds Abbott engaged in anticompetitive conduct, such as collusion with other manufacturers on pricing. (REUTERS)

Abbott Laboratories is facing another probe into its role in last year’s baby formula shortage that left millions of American families scrambling for vital nutrition products.

Last month, Abbott received a civil investigative demand from the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) seeking information in connection with its probe of companies that participate in bids for formula contracts, according to a financial statement filed Friday with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The investigation could lead to a lawsuit by the FTC if the agency finds Abbott engaged in anticompetitive conduct, such as collusion with other manufacturers on pricing.

For decades, Abbott and peers Perrigo Co., Nestle SA and Mead Johnson Nutrition Company have held tight control over the infant formula market in the US. The risks from that level of market consolidation were brought into sharp relief last year, when millions of formula cans were recalled from Abbott’s plant in Sturgis, Michigan after several infants got sick.

The plant was shutdown, which led to a nationwide shortage of powdered infant formula. Abbott’s plant in Sturgis had been making about 20% of the country’s infant formula, including Similac, the country’s most popular brand. Some 70 million cans and containers of Similac, as well as the specialty formulas EleCare and Alimentum, were recalled a year ago.

Other companies ramped up production and the US government loosened import restrictions to counteract the shortage, but shelves remained bare and families struggled to get their hands on essential formula for their infants.

Abbott’s disclosure shows the US government is still looking into the issue months after authorities vowed to hold companies responsible for their roles in the shortages. The US Justice Department has also launched a criminal investigation related to Abbott’s manufacturing of formula, the company confirmed last month. Abbott in May entered a five-year consent decree with the DOJ that gives the US Food and Drug Administration additional oversight of the Sturgis facility.

SEC Subpoena

The company also received a subpoena from the SEC’s Enforcement Division requesting information relating to Abbott’s powder infant formula business and related public disclosures, according to the filing.

Separate from the new investigation, the FTC, which enforces both consumer protection and antitrust laws, last year opened an inquiry into the infant formula market after lawmakers had urged it to look into whether consolidation helped exacerbate the shortage. FTC Chair Lina Khan had said the agency would examine whether mergers contributed to the market’s “fragile state." A report with the findings from that probe, in which the agency sought information from the public, is expected to be released this spring.

Multiple civil lawsuits have also been filed against Abbott regarding its manufacturing of certain powder infant formula products, according to the filing.

The FTC declined to comment. Abbott spokesman Scott Stoffel said the company is cooperating with the FTC.

Unlock a world of Benefits! From insightful newsletters to real-time stock tracking, breaking news and a personalized newsfeed – it's all here, just a click away! Login Now!

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

Catch all the Corporate news and Updates on Live Mint. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates & Live Business News.
More Less
Published: 18 Feb 2023, 06:14 AM IST
Next Story footLogo
Recommended For You
Switch to the Mint app for fast and personalized news - Get App