Lack of baby formula is getting worse; CVS, Target, Walgreens restrict sales

  • Stocks of baby formulas have become more limited, increasing the sale percentage to 40% from 31% two weeks earlier.
  • The shortage has led retailers, including CVS, Target and Walgreens, to limit purchases of infant formula.
  • Shortages are even worse in some states: Tennessee, Texas, Missouri, Iowa, South Dakota and North Dakota are facing supply shortages of more than 50%.

The lack of infant formula is not over yet – and it seems to be getting worse.

Nearly 40% of popular baby formula brands sold out at retailers across the U.S. during the week of April 24, according to an analysis by Datasembly, which estimated inventory at more than 11,000 stores.

That’s more than the already high 31% sell-off rate two weeks ago, Datasembly said.

Large retailers, including CVS, Target and Walgreens, limit the amount of formula customers can buy.

Walgreens continues to limit customers to three formulas for infants and young children per transaction, said Walgreens Boots Alliance spokesman Steve Cohen. “Due to increased demand and various challenges with suppliers, formulas for infants and young children are facing constraints across the country,” he said.

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Baby formula powder has been harder to find since Abbott Nutrition withdrew selected series of Similac, Alimentum and EleCare formulas produced at Abbott’s plant in Sturgis, Michigan in February.  This photo was taken on April 8 at Target in Boca Raton, Florida.

The situation is the same at CVS, which restricts three baby formula products per purchase in its stores and online, according to a statement from USA TODAY of CVS Health, which owns the pharmacy chain. “We continue to work with our baby formula suppliers to address this issue and we regret all the inconvenience this causes to our customers,” the statement continued.

Target also limits customers to up to four product formulas at once, the retailer told CBS News.

After recently visiting three different stores in one day last month, Elyssa Schmier, vice president of government relations for the advocacy group MomsRising, “suddenly realized my formula was nowhere to be found,” she told USA TODAY. “It’s almost a steady job trying to find Similac.”

The children’s formula reminds us of the worsening situation

Federal safety inspectors say baby formula maker Abbott has failed to maintain sanitary conditions at the Abbott Laboratories manufacturing facility in Sturgis, Mich.

The problem was exacerbated by the voluntary recall of Abbott Nutrition, which in mid-February withdrew selected series of Similac, Alimentum and EleCare formulas manufactured in Sturgis, Michigan. That recall was extended in late February and includes one Similac PM 60/40 series.

Subsequently, the Food and Drug Administration in March released preliminary findings on the failure of a formula manufacturer to maintain sanitary conditions and procedures at the plant.

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