Gerber and Perrigo Face New Lawsuit Over ‘Store-Brand’ Infant Formula Pricing; All Pending Toxic Baby Food Cases Consolidated into New Class Action MDL

Infant formula makers Gerber and Perrigo have been hit with a class-action lawsuit, which accuses the companies of artificially creating a shortage and jacking up prices for “store-brand” formula sold at Walmart, Walgreens, and other retailers.

The lawsuit was filed on Monday in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. It accuses Perrigo of violating antitrust laws by collaborating with Gerber to prevent competitors from entering the market for store-brand formula.

Perrigo, one of the nation’s largest suppliers of store-brand formula, sells its products under retail labels at prices lower than similar branded products. However, the lawsuit alleges that Gerber, by granting Perrigo the first right of refusal to Gerber’s excess formula supply, which could have been sold to other competitors, is engaging in practices that stifle competition.

The lawsuit claims that through this arrangement, Gerber agreed to keep its excess formula out of the store-brand market, thereby gaining a share of Perrigo’s profits. The lawsuit was filed by four residents of California, Illinois, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, who will represent millions of customers who have purchased store-brand baby formula. The lawsuit does not name formula retailers as defendants. It asks the court to intervene and end the anticompetitive deals between Perrigo and Gerber and seeks more than $5 million in monetary damages.

This lawsuit is similar to another case filed in Brooklyn federal court by a potential store-brand competitor, P&L Development. Gerber and Perrigo requested the dismissal of that case, which was denied by the judge in February. The companies involved in the lawsuit claimed they compete fairly with other infant formula manufacturers, including those of store-brand formulas. The lawsuit also cited the squeezing out of P&L Development from the store-brand market, which has led to higher prices.

Gerber is also facing numerous lawsuits accusing its brands of baby food of containing dangerously high levels of toxic heavy metals, such as lead, arsenic, and mercury. These heavy metals are extremely toxic, even for adults, and can have catastrophic consequences on developing children, leading to health complications and neurological damage. Conditions such as ADHD and autism may be linked to consuming these toxic baby foods.

On April 11, 2024, all the lawsuits pertaining to toxic baby foods, which had been filed at different times in various courts, were consolidated into a new class action MDL in the Northern District of California and assigned to Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley. Besides Gerber, other baby food manufacturers like Beech-Nut and Campbell Soup Co. have also been named as defendants.

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Manoj Nair

Manoj Nair: With a decade of news writing across various media platforms, Manoj is a seasoned professional. His dual role as an English teacher underscores his command over communication. He adeptly covers Politics, Technology, Crypto, and more, reflecting a broad and insightful perspective that engages and informs diverse audiences.

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