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How US Baby Formula Monopolies Have Failed Families

  • WIC program has contributed to state-level formula monopolies
  • Trade, regulatory limits impede overseas supply, new brands
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Baby Formula Shortage Hurts Poor Families the Most

Formula isn’t just for babies. April Crohare desperately needs it for her 14-year-old son, Charlie. Due to medical complications from a rare brain disorder called lissencephaly, his only source of nutrition comes from infant formula through a feeding tube.

The Crohares, who live in Maryland, had relied on Abbott Laboratories’ hypoallergenic brand EleCare to feed Charlie for almost half his life until the specialty formula was pulled off shelves in a February recall linked to bacterial contamination at Abbott’s Sturgis, Michigan, facility. She’s been frantically searching for it -- or another product her son can digest without getting sick -- ever since.