Joe Biden invoked Wednesday’s Defense Production Act to address the critical national shortage of baby formula. This allows government agencies to request permission to fly commercial aircraft owned or operated by the Department of Defense in order to transport formula loads to the USA. Whitehouse.gov holds the “presidential orders”.
I’m taking two new steps to increase baby formula supply:
– Invoking the Defense Production Act to increase domestic production
– Launching Operation Fly Formula to use federal planes to fly formula in from abroad
We’re making sure safe formula gets to all who need it. pic.twitter.com/lnkxsaCY6T
— President Biden (@POTUS) May 18, 2022
This will be undoubtedly repeated in the fall campaign ads. The right will sing the chorus “we should praise him when it’s right”, but this is just another ineffectual and meaningless act by an ineffectual and meaningless president.
It is important that you ask these questions: a. How did it happen? b) What effect, if any?
This whole mess started when the Food and Drug Administration investigated a serious bacterial infection that had been contracted by four infants after they had taken baby formula from an Abbott Laboratories facility. There were “four” cases, but the bacteria in those cases was not the same as the one found at the Michigan facility.
The Cronobacter strains found in our plant were not genetically matched by the two ill infants. There was no connection between the two samples.
The state and FDA have tested all four samples of the Abbott formula that were used by the child. All unopened containers tested negative in all cases.
The infant’s home provided open containers in three of the four cases. Two of the three cases were positive. A positive result was also obtained from an infant’s house. It was positive for Cronobacter Sakazakii. The infant was infected by the first strain. The second strain was found in a bottle of distilled water.
Over the course of nearly a year, our formula was created in four different forms. These illnesses were experienced over several months in three different states.
These claims cannot be refuted by the FDA. Based on the information available, FDA should fire someone. This kind of science-and-logic-free decision-making gave us the COVID shutdown and stay-at-home orders. This will continue until those making the decisions are made to feel humiliation and personal pain.
Monday’s FDA approval means that the plant can reopen. It had been closed since Putin visited Ukraine in February. In June, the first product from the new facility will be released.
One FDA bureaucrat trying to impress someone was responsible for the shortage of baby formula. The problem is the inability to stockpile and increase production.
DoD currently has 50 “commercial” aircraft available. Although these aircraft can move enough baby formula, it is not economical.
The bottom line: This order allows the White House to claim that it did something.
Wall Street Journal reports that this vulnerability was not only created by the manufacturers but also the government. The article isn’t paywalled so you can thank me anytime.
It is estimated that 95% of U.S. Formula is manufactured domestically. Perrigo was responsible for 42% of this market last year. This protects domestic manufacturers from foreign competition. Imports can be limited by non-trade barriers such as FDA labeling requirements or ingredient requirements.
Quick note: Trump was accused of “imposing quotas and tariffs on Canadian imports pursuant to the USMCA Trade Deal.” It wasn’t about restricting Canadian imports. This was not about restricting Canadian imports.
While the left is busy trying to blame a monopoly or cartel of baby product manufacturers, government distortions of markets have caused a bigger problem.
Low-income mothers have the option of purchasing formula under the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program (WIC). Every state issues a contract to purchase a particular formula from a manufacturer.
Rebates offered by companies to state on formulas that can be purchased by women are a way for them to compete for contracts. WIC coupons can only be used for formula purchases by winners.
Manufacturers offer huge discounts to states. This is why they have an effective monopoly on the market. WIC was implemented in 30 states between 2005 and 2008.
This is a predictable and logical result. WIC recipients cannot buy Brand A. Groceries will stock less because most parents will buy it regardless of their income. This simplifies the ordering process and warehouse management.
Rahm Emanuel’s famous statement that “You don’t want serious crises to go to waste” is well-known. It doesn’t always mean what we expect. Because very few companies can produce the formula, it is a serious problem.