MILLBURY, Mass. - AllCare Medical Supply in Millbury helps parents get access to baby formula.
They assist roughly 2,000 families a month through programs like MassHealth. But it’s a lot harder right now, because a nationwide shortage has cut their stock to almost nothing.
“Usually we can get backup formula from another manufacturer," said AllCare's President and CEO Bill Fredericks. "But, those manufacturers, they dried up pretty quickly too.”
A small wooden pallet in the store’s basement with a few boxes of formula was the supply they had on hand on Monday.
Fredericks says it’s been like this for months. He said many of his clients are low-income families or are struggling financially and when formula does start to return, he’s not even sure his store will get any.
“These formulas are going to end up going to the box stores for retail purchase,” Fredericks said. “I just think it’s grossly unfair that people of low or moderate income who can’t afford to purchase this and have approval from MassHealth will not be able to get it.”
The National Women, Infants and Children Association says while production has ramped up, product has yet to return to shelves.
Last month, manufacturer Abbott said they were working with the FDA to restart operations in their Michigan facility, and prioritizing formula in their other locations across the country.
They say in a statement: “We are dedicated to doing everything possible to ensure parents and caregivers have what they need to feed their babies. And we’re always focused on what we can do to continue to serve our customers.”
“I’m a father too,” Fredericks said. “I can’t imagine being the parent of a child who has a diagnosis that requires them to get specialty formula that cannot get it. You know, for years and years and years we were able to take care of them, and now we can’t. We just can’t purchase it. It’s not available to us.”
Fredericks says what little stock of formula he has right now is barely going to last him the rest of the week. Once that’s gone, he said, it’s uncertain how long before he can actually restock once again.