U.S. to extend baby formula waivers for low-income families – Politico


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The Joe Biden administration will likely extend federal flexibilities for low-income families which are dependent on government discounts to access baby formula in coming days, Politico reported on Tuesday.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture started temporarily covering the cost of baby formula for low-income families in some states which access formula through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program.

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The move was made after closure of Abbott Laboratories Michigan plant due to complaints of bacterial contamination exacerbated a national shortage of the vital product.

The current waivers are set to expire on Sept. 30 and an extension will help the government avoid a steep drop in infant formula access as shortages linger in pockets across the country, the Politico report said, citing two people familiar with the matter.

Infants enrolled in the WIC program consumed about 56% of all infant formula in the United States in 2018.

WIC shoppers can typically only buy formula produced by the company that has a contract with their state, territory, or tribe. Those companies provide rebates to cut the cost of formula to WIC shoppers.

Abbott Laboratories, the biggest participant in the WIC program, said on Tuesday it is extending rebates on competitive products to help low-income families through Oct. 31.

The USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment. (Reporting by Mrinalika Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)



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