With a voluntary directive by Health Canada aimed at rationing the limited supply amid a national shortage, most Canadian parents who need a special formula to feed their infants can order formula through a pharmacy. Milk must be ordered.
Health Canada said in June that pharmacists will dispense hypoallergenic infant formulas “to ensure they are evenly distributed,” according to a Health Canada statement provided to Global News. issued a nationwide recommendation to
Since then, access to certain types of specialty prescriptions has continued to be restricted, according to Health Canada, so the practice has been adopted nationwide.
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Health Canada spokesperson Andre Gagnon said, “The recommendation to order hypoallergenic infant formula over the pharmacy counter effectively manages the limited supply and ensures that infants who need it This was done to ensure that it was received.
“This measure will enable Health Canada and its provincial and territory counterparts to understand the domestic supply in detail and to quickly adjust allocations when an urgent need is identified.”
Regular formula is widely available in Canada and does not require special access over the counter at pharmacies, Health Canada added.
The shortage of specialty formulas began with the February closure of Abbott Nutrition, Michigan’s leading infant formula manufacturing plant, following a major recall of some products.
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Most of the infant formula available in Canada comes from the United States. Abbott Nutrition manufactures the popular Similac and Alimentum formula brands.
After resuming Formula production in May, Abbott was forced to close again on June 16 due to severe storm damage. That facility resumed production again last month, with an initial focus on specialty formulas and a gradual increase.
Health Canada expects it will be several months before the product is available to consumers in normal quantities.
Meanwhile, the federal government obtained a shipment of imported hypoallergenic formulas in July. Some of them have not been previously sold in Canada, mainly due to Canadian labeling requirements.
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Health Canada said these shipments have stabilized domestic supplies, but the situation remains delicate until Abbott’s facility in Michigan returns to full capacity.
“Therefore, Health Canada maintains its recommendation to make hypoallergenic formulas available to families by ordering them over the pharmacy counter, and special formulas for those who need them. We continue to emphasize the need to preserve milk.”
Daniel Paez, chief pharmacist for the Canadian Pharmacists Association, says the shortage only affects infants who are allergic to regular formula or soy-based products, but that’s not an overwhelming number. But for affected families, the last few months have been stressful with limited supplies.
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“It can be very distressing for parents and caregivers, so make sure everything is in place to support them and pharmacists and pharmacists to help families and caregivers get through this. It’s really important to make sure that you have everything you need to do it. It’s important,” Paez said.
“We are working very closely with Health Canada to ensure that information reaches everyone who needs it.”
Families requiring broadly hydrolyzed amino acid-based formulas do not need a prescription to access these products unless required for state coverage.
However, those needing to purchase hypoallergenic formula for infants should order from their local pharmacy in advance, as Health Canada has asked pharmacies not to hold excess inventory to maintain supplies. You will be asked to
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The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many supply chain problems that have led to shortages of many products and medicines over the past two and a half years, so this is not a new situation for pharmacists to deal with, Justin Bates said. say. CEO of the Ontario Pharmacists Association.
Pharmacists are now having more conversations with parents to help them navigate their options and ensure they have access to the best formula products for their infants.
He said this has become a “huge source of stress” for many parents and caregivers who rely on special formulas to feed their babies.
“You’re dealing with a very vulnerable population of infant cohorts, and obviously the early nutrition is huge, so people are worried. Is this the bottom of supply, or will there be more shortages? ?” said Bates.
For now, keeping special formulas behind pharmacy counters will prevent hoarding and ensure these products are available to those who need them most, he added.
“When people hoard it, they can’t get it to everyone who needs it. It’s about making it available to everyone who wants it.”
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Need a special infant formula? Get it at the pharmacy counter – National
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