May 17, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Baby formula makers to testify on shortage before Congress

Similac baby formulas. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Baby formula makers Abbott, Gerber and Reckitt will be called on to testify on the ongoing baby formula shortage before Congress next week.

Why it matters: The nationwide baby formula shortage has left families scrambling to find formula for their infants, putting children at risk.

Driving the news: Rep. Diana DeGette, (D-Colo.) announced that the House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations panel will hold a hearing next week to hear from Abbott, Gerber and Reckitt about what's causing the baby formula shortage — and what needs to be done to fix it.

  • Top executives from each of those companies are expected to speak at the hearing on May 25.
  • The panel will also hear from Food and Drug Administration commissioner Robert Califf and other FDA officials.

What they're saying: “There’s no excuse for what’s happening all across this country right now,” DeGette said.

  • “Ensuring every parent and infant has access to the formula they need has become an all-hands-on-deck effort and one of our committee’s top priorities."
  • "We want to know from the witnesses we hear from next week exactly what happened and how it happened; but more importantly we want to know what needs to be done to get more infant formula on the shelves as quick as possible.”

The big picture: Congress is getting more involved with the shortage in recent days.

  • House Democrats on Tuesday proposed an emergency funding bill that would give the FDA more funds to increase staff for the current situation and potential future shortages.
  • Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Tuesday that there could be indictments following a number of probes involving the shortage, per NBC News.
  • Pelosi didn't name specific parties, however, her comments came shortly after House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) criticized the FDA and baby formula developer Abbott Nutrition.
  • “I think that when all of this is done — I’m not associating my colleagues with what I’m going to say right now, I’m just saying it myself — I think there might be a need for indictment,” Pelosi said.
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