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Biden administration launches website in response to formula shortage

Baby Formula Shortage
Posted at 10:57 AM, May 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-13 20:19:31-04

The Biden administration announced on Friday it has launched a website to provide resources for families struggling to find infant formula.

The launch comes amid criticism the Biden administration was slow to act in response to supply-chain disruptions and recalls affecting the stock of infant formula. Earlier this week, Datasembly estimated that 43% of retailers are out of stock of formula.

The website provides contacts for families to reach manufacturers and community resources.

The White House said following conversations with major producers and retailers, “Manufacturers have ramped up production 30-50%, bringing total production today above pre-recall levels.”

Infant formula maker Abbott said earlier this week it could take a number of weeks for a ramp-up of products to reach grocery store shelves.

Republicans have pounced on the shortage to decry the administration for not acting sooner.

“This is not a third-world country. This should never happen in the United States of America. We are unified in demanding action to address this crisis,” said Rep. Elise Stefanik, a New York Republican.

In response to the shortage, a number of retailers have placed limits on the amount of formula that can be purchased.

The New York Times reported that CVS and Walgreens are limiting customers to three baby formula products per purchase. Target is limiting online purchases of formula to four items per transaction.

Abbott, which recalled a number of infant formula products in February, said it is tripling its production of Similac Ready-to-Feed formula compared to last year.

"Abbott has been working with the USDA and WIC agencies and paying rebates on competitive products in states where Abbott holds the WIC contract, when Similac is not available," the company said on Friday. "Abbott will continue to pay rebates for competitive products through August 31. This means program participants will continue to be able to obtain formula, free of charge whether it is Similac or formula from another manufacturer."

Abbott said in addition to ramping up production, it air shipped product from Ireland facility to the U.S. in hopes of alleviating the shortage.

The White House has been unable to put a timeline on when it expects the supply to return to normal.

“It is not about assessing how quickly we will be back to a certain level. It is about putting our heads down and doing everything we can to work with these manufacturers,” White House communications director Kate Bedingfield told CNN on Friday.