Lack of formula is also a problem with the rights of people with disabilities – California Health Report

Photo by Lyosha_Nazarenko / iStock.

The shortage of formula, which is wreaking havoc in the United States, is appalling for any parent who relies on infant formula to feed their child. This is especially detrimental for babies and children with special health needs who rely on special prescription formulas that have also been affected by supply shortages.

The shortage underscores the continuing systemic failure to ensure that vulnerable children have secure access to medically necessary, life-sustaining products and equipment. Families with healthy babies, who have never experienced this level of stress before finding a product that should be easily accessible, are now facing a situation that is unfortunately the status quo for families of children with disabilities.

This shortage caused by high withdrawal of breast milk and pediatric formula produced by manufacturer Abbott Nutrition in February has received a lot of media attention, with most of it focusing on families who can’t find the Similac baby formula brand without a prescription. Less attention has been paid to the supply crisis in special prescription formulas such as Elecare and hypoallergenic formulas such as Alimentum (both are also part of the Abbott withdrawal). These specialized, medically necessary formulas are designed for children with gastrointestinal disabilities who cannot tolerate the traditional formula. The shortage of these products affects not only babies but also children and teenagers with complex digestive problems and allergies. This includes children fed through a jejunal tube (a feeding tube that bypasses the stomach and feeds the baby directly into the small intestine), children with severe allergic conditions such as eosinophilic esophagitis or gastroenteritis, and children with intestinal malformations and malabsorption disorders.

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