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Store Brand Baby Formula Maker Wins False Advertising Lawsuit

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By Matt McCleskey

A baby-formula manufacturer in Virginia has won a $13.5 million verdict in a false-advertising lawsuit filed against a rival. PBM Products is based in Gordonsville, Virginia. It makes store-brand baby formula sold in 35,000 retail locations worldwide, including WalMart, Target, and Walgreens stores.

In April, the company filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Richmond against Mead Johnson & Co., the maker of the Enfamil brand of baby formula. PBM alleged that in direct mailings to 1.6 million health-care professionals, Mead Johnson falsely claimed that PBM's products don't provide the same nutrition as Enfamil.

In a statement, PBM's CEO says the jury's decision shows any ads indicating the cheaper store-brands are a cutback in nutrition are false.

A spokesman for Mead Johnson tells the Charlottesville Daily Progress newspaper the direct mail ad was pulled six months ago and says his company's marketing efforts will continue to focus on its products, rather than on its competitors.

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