May 26, 2022 - Health

FDA chief: Baby formula shortage could last into July

DC restaurateur Mark Bucher places baby formula into a fridge.
Photo: Stefani Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

The baby formula shortage likely won't end until July, FDA Commissioner Robert Califf said Tuesday.

Driving the news: “My expectation is that within two months we should be beyond normal, and with a plethora,” Califf said at a Senate Health Committee hearing Thursday, per CNBC.

  • “It’s going to be gradual improvement up to probably somewhere around two months until the shelves are replete again.” 

Context: The United States has faced a baby formula shortage since the FDA issued a recall for certain products from Abbott Nutrition, one of the largest developers of formula in the country. Issues with the supply chain ballooned the shortage.

  • The FDA and Abbott reached a deal earlier in May that will allow the manufacturer to reopen its plant in Sturgis, Michigan, which had been closed since the recall.
  • Abbott said it plans to reopen the plant on June 4 and start shipping out specialty formula EleCare on June 20, the company said in a statement.
  • The company said it would need two weeks to reopen its facility and an additional six to eight weeks to get the product onto shelves.

State of play: Nearly 500,000 additional cans of specialized medical formula made in U.K. and Germany facilities are on their way to the U.S. to help contend with the shortage, according to the FDA.

  • “We have made tremendous progress, including notable steps in just the past week, which will allow us to immediately begin bringing specialty and infant formula products into the U.S. as quickly as possible,” Califf said in a statement.
  • "It is our goal to ensure that hospitals, specialty pharmacies and retail store shelves will begin seeing adequate supplies again in the coming weeks.”

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