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DeWine announces steps to help Ohio families impacted by formula shortage

The briefing comes just days after the Abbott plant in Sturgis, Michigan resumed production in wake of a months-long closure.

CINCINNATI — Governor Mike DeWine announced new steps Ohio is taking to help families during the nationwide baby formula shortage on Monday.

Speaking at a Kroger store in Cincinnati, DeWine said the USDA has granted additional waiver requests to allow eight more formula options for families enrolled in the Ohio Department of Health’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).

The briefing comes just days after the Abbott plant in Sturgis, Michigan resumed production in wake of a months-long closure. Investigators determined several infant illnesses, including two deaths, were linked to bacteria found in formula at the plant.

In response, Abbott recalled various lots of three popular powdered infant formulas. The recall only stoked the flames of an already existing infant formula shortage.

White House officials have said it will take roughly three weeks for parents to see store shelves stocked with Abbott’s formula once again. A plan released in May points to June 20 as the estimated date for when the formula can once again be purchased.

“While it is good news that the formula factory that caused the shortage is operating again, it will take weeks for formula to restock, in the meantime, we will continue our work to ease the burden on families. There are few things scarier than the thought of not being able to provide food for your children. I feel for the many families impacted by the formula shortage,” said DeWine.

The eight additional Mead Johnson products that will be covered beginning June 13 include:

  • Enfamil Infant Powder 29.4oz
  • Enfamil NeuroPro Infant Powder 28.3oz
  • Enfamil NeuroPro Infant Powder Box 31.4 oz
  • Enfamil Gentlease Powder 27.7oz
  • Enfamil NeuroPro Gentlease Powder 27.4 oz
  • Enfamil NeuroPro Gentlease Powder Box 30.4 oz
  • Enfamil AR Powder Box 30.4 oz
  • Enfamil Prosobee Powder 20.9oz

The state is also working with the USDA to temporarily remove requirements for families enrolled in WIC who use special prescription formula.

This formula requires a prescription by the child’s healthcare provider to treat a medical condition. Currently, a WIC recipient can only purchase the specific brand that is prescribed.

The waiver will allow these families the option to purchase store-branded equivalents.

Additionally, the Ohio Department of Health, the Ohio Department of Administrative Services and Mead Johnson are working to allow families to purchase, alternate, non-contracted brands.

Officials say this will expand formula access for families in WIC in the coming weeks.

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