Republicans Seek Documents, Schedule Hearing Related To FDA's Response To Baby-Formula Shortage

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  • House Republicans are reportedly speeding up their scrutiny of the FDA and the White House's handling of the baby formula shortage last year.
  • The supply crunch hit the U.S. market when Abbott Laboratories ABT, a significant supplier, closed its Sturgis, Michigan, plant due to bacterial infection.
  • House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chairman James Comer (R., Ky.) and Rep. Lisa McClain (R., Mich.), who leads its panel on healthcare, asked the FDA to submit all communications between the agency, White House staff, and the Health and Human Services Department relating to the formula shortage by April 4. 
  • The panel also scheduled a hearing next week on the issue, Wall Street Journal reported, with testimony from Frank Yiannas, a former FDA official involved in its response to the formula recall.
  •  Amid backlash for slow response to the formula shortage, the FDA proposed consolidating and streamlining its food division.
  • "The Committee is concerned that the FDA's restructuring is a superficial attempt—rather than a real effort—to bring accountability and make meaningful changes," Mr. Comer and Ms. McClain wrote.
  • According to an internal review, the FDA found numerous shortcomings hampered the agency's response to the U.S. infant formula supply problems.
  • The Justice Department's consumer-protection branch investigates conduct at Abbott's plant in Sturgis, Michigan.
  • Last week, Perrigo Company plc PRGO recalled certain lots of Gerber infant formula because of possible Cronobacter sakazakii contamination.
  • The recall impacts Gerber Good Start SootheProTM Powdered Infant Formula manufactured between January 2 and January 18 at Perrigo's Gateway Eau Claire, Wisconsin, facility.
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