Abbott moves to quash NY probe into 'potential deceptive advertising and marketing practices'

By Mark ASTLEY contact

- Last updated on GMT

Abbott moves to quash NY probe into 'potential deceptive advertising and marketing practices'

Related tags: New york city, United states

US infant formula giant Abbott has moved to quash a subpoena served by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) as part of an investigation into "potential deceptive advertising and marketing practices."

On June 9, DCA served Illinois-based Abbott with with the non-judicial subpoena​ demanding a range of documents, including those “sufficient to substantiate”​ 22 claims, statements or suggestions made by Abbott on Similac and Isomil infant formula products sold in the US, by July 9.

It also requested documents relating to Abbott's advertising and marketing practices, and records "sufficient"​ to identify all New York City hospitals and healthcare professionals to whom it directed any marketing, advertising or sales efforts.

These documents, DCA said, would be “inspected, examined, and audited in the matter of an investigation now being conducted by the Department into potential deceptive advertising and marketing practices.”

In a July 7 letter to Tamala Boyd, DCA's deputy general counsel,​ Anthony DeCinque, a lawyer for Abbott, called the subpoena a "fishing expedition."

Following talks, DCA agreed to extend the deadline by a month to August 10, but declined "to limit the subpoena to certain products and claims," ​the letter continued.

“Given the subpoena’s scope, the only reasonable conclusion one can draw is that the Department wishes to engage – at enormous cost to Abbott – in an expensive and time-consuming fishing expedition through Abbott’s documents and records,"​ DeCinque wrote.

"Therefore, Abbott will have no choice but to move to quash the Department’s subpoena by the agreed-upon date.”

Challenging the request in the Supreme Court of the State of New York last week, DeCinque revealed DCA launched its investigation despite receiving "no complaints" ​about Abbott's conduct.

"I asked whether Consumer Affairs had received any complaints that prompted her subpoena. I was told no, there had been no complaints," ​a petition to quash the subpoena reads. 

"I asked what basis Consumer Affairs had for investigating and was again told only that it had 'concerns'," ​it added.

On August 7, the the Supreme Court of the State of New York issued an order to show cause - excusing Abbott “from responding to the subpoena pending the hearing and determination of its application.”

Related topics: Regulation & Safety, Nutritionals

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