Abbott Labs Agrees to Settlement With NY Attorney General Over Infant-feeding Surveys

Date : 11/09/2018 @ 11:56AM
Source : Dow Jones News
Stock : Abbott Laboratories (ABT)
Quote : 70.89  -1.15 (-1.60%) @ 3:14PM

Abbott Labs Agrees to Settlement With NY Attorney General Over Infant-feeding Surveys

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   By Kimberly Chin 
 

Abbott Laboratories has settled with the New York Attorney General over allegedly misleading new parents with surveys on their infant-feeding habits.

New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood has accused the maker of Similac infant formula of using the information it collected for marketing purposes, while creating a false impression that it would be used for scientific research.

The surveys were distributed under the banner "National Institute of Infant Nutrition," and were accompanied by a letter signed by an individual who identified as a "Research Director," the attorney general said. However, there is no such entity, the attorney general said, and Abbott used the survey information for its own marketing uses.

Under the settlement, Abbott Labs will need to accurately disclose the purpose for which the company is collecting information, if any third party is conducting the marketing research on their behalf, and pay $50,000 in costs.

This is to prevent Abbott from "falsely representing" its surveys as being conducted for scientific study, the attorney general said.

Abbott Labs entered into the settlement without admitting or denying the attorney general's investigation.

"The aggregated and anonymized data collected was used to analyze infant-formula usage and provided valuable information about infant feeding habits to both government health agencies and academic institutions for more than 60 years," Abbott Labs said in a statement. "Abbott has never solicited survey respondents with follow-up advertising of its products."

Between March 2015 and April 2017, Abbott Labs sent over 200,000 surveys to new parents in New York, according to the Attorney General.

 

Write to Kimberly Chin at kimberly.chin@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 09, 2018 11:41 ET (16:41 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2018 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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