CHICAGO - A nationwide baby formula shortage has sent Illinois families scrambling. The shortage was initially linked to hypoallergenic formula, but has grown to most brands.
Now, stores like Walgreens, CVS and Target are putting a limit on how much formula shoppers can purchase.
For more than a month, Angela Konczak has been searching the internet for the only specialty formula her daughter can drink. Two-year-old Brooklin has a rare, genetic condition which makes her intolerant to most foods. Angela has paid two to three times the typical cost of the formula so that Brooklin can eat. It’s taking an extreme toll on the family’s finances.
They are not alone. Some patients at Lurie Children’s Hospital are also out of luck.
"We've seen significant weight loss in a number of our patients and in a rare cases we've actually had to hospitalize patients," said Dr. Joshua Wechsler with Lurie.
More than half of states have a 40 to 50 percent out-of-stock rate of all baby formula. The situation has grown so concerning that the White House Press Secretary addressed it Monday.
"Ensuring the availability of these products is also a priority for the FDA. And they're working around the clock to address any possible shortage," said press secretary Jen Psaki.
The shortage began with supply chain problems. Then, Illinois-based Abbott Nutrition had a voluntary formula recall when four infants became sic – two died.
The FDA in March announced that Abbott’s Sturgis, Michigan plant failed to maintain sanitary conditions. In a statement, Abbott Nutrition said they are working with the FDA to fix the problems and are ramping up infant formula production at other facilities.
Doctors recommend buying formula directly from manufacturers, if you are struggling to find it. Chicago-area families that have children who require specialized formula can also contact the Cured Foundation. The organization connects families with others who have extra formula.
Brooklin’s family has launched a GoFundMe page to assist with purchasing formula.