CINCINNATI — On Monday, Governor Mike DeWine provided an update on what is being done to help Ohio families impacted by the infant formula shortage, including the acceptance of a waiver request that will give families enrolled in Ohio Department of Health’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) more formula options.
“While it is good news that the formula factory that caused the shortage is operating again, it will take weeks for formula to restock, in the meantime we will continue our work to ease the burden on families. There are few things scarier than the thought of not being able to provide food for your children. I feel for the many families impacted by the formula shortage,” said DeWine. “I am pleased that the USDA has granted our additional waiver requests to allow eight more WIC-approved products for families enrolled in the program.”
The Ohio WIC Office received USDA approval for the eight additional Mead Johnson products that will be covered beginning June 13. Products include:
• Enfamil Infant Powder 29.4oz
• Enfamil NeuroPro Infant Powder 28.3oz
• Enfamil NeuroPro Infant Powder Box 31.4 oz
• Enfamil Gentlease Powder 27.7oz
• Enfamil NeuroPro Gentlease Powder 27.4 oz
• Enfamil NeuroPro Gentlease Powder Box 30.4 oz
• Enfamil AR Powder Box 30.4 oz
• Enfamil Prosobee Powder 20.9oz
Ohio is also working with the USDA to temporarily remove burdensome requirements for families enrolled in WIC who use special prescription formula. This formula requires a prescription by the child’s healthcare provider to treat a medical condition. Currently, a WIC participant can only purchase the specific brand that is prescribed. This waiver will allow families enrolled in WIC the option to purchase store-brand equivalents of certain formulas without returning to their healthcare provider for a new prescription, making more options available and accessible to families.
In addition, the Ohio Department of Health, the Ohio Department of Administrative Services and Mead Johnson, the contracted manufacturer for WIC participants, are working to allow Ohio families to purchase alternate, non-contracted brands. These arrangements will expand formula access for families enrolled in WIC during the shortage in the coming weeks.
These new efforts are in addition to the continuous work being done to help families during this critical shortage. Ohio began requesting waivers and receiving waivers from the USDA in February to help WIC-enrolled families get access to additional formula options. WIC program staff across the state also have been working with healthcare providers and families enrolled in WIC to find alternative formula to meet their needs.
Last month, DeWine joined 18 other governors to encourage the president to remove some of the red tape involved in importing safe formula from other countries and have asked for an after-action report so we can learn how to better avoid shortages like this in the future.
The state has been urging manufacturers to do all they can to make more products available for all Ohio families. ODH and Ohio WIC are encouraging participants to reach out to their local WIC office for information about their benefits and what formula is available.