Senators press FDA commissioner on infant formula shortage
Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.) sent a letter to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Robert Califf on Thursday pressing him over decisions that contributed to the ongoing infant formula shortage.
The senators asked Califf and his agency to provide a detailed timeline of the agency’s inspection of the Abbott Laboratories facility in Sturgis, Mich., the closure of which spurred the formula shortage, as well as more recent efforts to bolster supplies and prevent a future shortage.
“While we appreciate the steps currently being taken by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), we are concerned that the Agency did not take these actions sooner, and we believe that more must be done to safely alleviate the shortage as quickly as possible,” the senators said in their letter.
“Earlier intervention from the FDA to enhance supply chains, in part by utilizing the authorities announced this week, would have mitigated the impact of the loss of a major manufacturing facility and prevented this crisis,” the letter added.
The letter comes after President Biden on Wednesday invoked the Defense Production Act in an effort to address the worsening nationwide shortage, which has left thousands of families scrambling to find formula.
Later in the day, the House passed two bills aimed at addressing a nationwide shortage of infant formula.
The main piece of legislation would provide $28 million in emergency funding to the FDA to beef up inspections of formula made at foreign plants and to guard against any future shortages by ensuring the agency is prepared for supply chain disruptions.
The letter from Baldwin and Hoeven said they recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic has placed “tremendous strain” on the FDA.
“However, families cannot wait weeks for the supply chain to resolve itself, and the FDA must act expeditiously to resolve the current infant formula shortage,” the senators wrote.
“This shortage is unacceptable to American families, and we must work together to ensure that nothing like this happens in the future.”
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