New research has found that despite the best efforts from the Biden administration to make baby formula more available for parents, it has been less available in recent weeks than it was in May.
The data comes from IRI, a market research company, and it found that 28.3% of powdered baby formula products were out of stock in the U.S. this past week, almost 5% more than throughout the month of May.
According to some doctors, the shortage isn’t getting worse, but it is also not getting any better as parents continue to struggle and hospitals run out of samples.
The Biden administration launched its Operation Fly Formula in May to speed up imports from overseas formula producers in an effort to replenish inventories domestically.
Still, many don’t believe the issue will be resolved until Abbott Nutrition can start pushing products to shelves. The company’s Sturgis, Michigan factory was shut down over contamination concerns at the beginning of the year. Many have named the shutdown one of the key contributors to the shortages.
However, production resumed at the factory earlier this month, and products are expected to be ready to ship from it to shelves soon.
While speaking with News Nation, the nutrition chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Mark Corkins, shared that he doesn’t see things getting better immediately.
“We’ve given out a lot of samples, and what we have is pretty much gone at this point. It’s not like we’re on the manufacturers anytime soon because they’re running out, too,” Corkins said. “I would love to say, OK, they’re cleaning up the factory, they’re going to get production rolling. I’d love to say four weeks, but I don’t think that’s realistic. I think it’s going to be more, at least eight, probably 12. We’ll have to wait and see.”
Still, the blame for the shortage is being spread across the board, as the Food and Drug Administration has been under fire for its role in the shortage. FDA Commissioner Robert Califf called for a review to be conducted of the food and tobacco programs run under the agency.
The review comes from the mounting criticism received over how the FDA has handled not only the formula shortage but also its e-cigarette reviews.
Califf released a statement saying that “fundamental questions about the structure, function, funding and leadership need to be addressed.”
So far, there have been 17 Fly Formula Operations as parents continue to struggle to find formula for their children.