Baby formula shortages have plagued parents for months, and a group of Republican Senators — including one from Florida — is pressing for a federal solution.
U.S. Sen. Rick Scott joined a letter led by Sen. Roger Marshall of Kansas pushing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to allow more vendors to operate in the American baby formula sphere.
“American families need permanent long-term solutions, and that includes increasing capacity and competition in the U.S. market,” the letter to Commissioner Robert Califf contends. “Given the delicate nature of the infant formula supply chain, it’s become even more apparent that we need to diversify our commercial capacity by providing other industry manufacturers the opportunity to compete.”
A slow approval process is also to blame, the Senators remark.
“Under the enforcement discretion authorized by President (Joe) Biden’s May Executive Orders to address the formula crisis, the FDA approved only 23 infant formula products, or base powder, from 10 unique manufacturers out of dozens of ex-U.S. based formula and milk companies that have applied for short-term FDA approval to provide infant formula to the U.S. marketplace,” the letter contends.
Signatories to the letter include U.S. Sens. John Barrasso, Marsha Blackburn, John Boozman, Shelley Moore Capito, Bill Cassidy, Kevin Cramer, Cynthia Lummis, Jerry Moran, John Thune, Thom Tillis and Roger Wicker.
“It’s a real problem across this country,” Scott said during a May 12 interview on the Fox News Channel. “And think about this: How could we have a problem like this in the United States of America?”
“It is unacceptable that Joe Biden’s baby formula shortage is STILL GOING in Florida. The Biden administration needs to step up and fix this crisis TODAY,” Scott tweeted in July.
Scott’s latest comments come in the wake of the FDA admitting to delays in handling the baby formula shortage.
“For things that are critical to the public health, if you don’t have some understanding of how all the pieces fit together, then when you get into a crisis or a shortage you have a real problem,” FDA Commissioner Califf told The Associated Press in an interview. “To a large extent that’s what happened here.”
The AP notes that in-stock rates of formula are back above 80%, after a low of 69% in July, suggesting the supply crunch may be largely over.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.