Abbott’s CEO apologized to American families for a milk supply shortage triggered by the closure of a Michigan plant after the deaths of two infants.
In an article written by Robert Ford, chairman and CEO of a behemoth healthcare giant, Washington Post On Saturday he said “I’m sorry” about the crisis and claimed the company was taking steps “to make sure this never happens again.”
He said: “Your presence has made us suffer, so I want to say. “I am sorry to all the families we have let down since our voluntary recall exacerbated the milk powder shortage in our country,” he said.
Milk powder supplies across the U.S. have plummeted after Abbott Nutrition’s Sturgis, Michigan plant closed in February and the nation’s largest milk powder maker announced major product recalls for three of its most popular products.
The drastic measures were taken after two babies died and at least four other babies were hospitalized for bacterial infections after consuming factory-produced formula.
As a result, all production at the facility has been halted for the past three months.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has launched an investigation and has warned parents not to use certain Similac, Alimentum and EleCare products.
Abbott said none of its products tested positive for the bacterium Cronobacter sakazakii or Salmonella, and the review found that the product’s formulation was “not likely” to cause infection in reported cases. I did.
However, the FDA says it has detected the presence of Cronobacter sakazakii in the plant.
Ford said the recall was “the right thing to do” because “the company will not take any risks with regards to children’s health” in an article.
“Data collected during the investigation, gene sequencing, archived product samples and products available from the four complaints did not find an association between our product and the four reported childhood diseases,” he said.
“But the FDA investigation found bacteria in our plant that we couldn’t tolerate,” he admitted.
“I have high expectations for this company, but we didn’t live up to it.”
Ford commented on “tragic and heartbreaking” reports of babies with allergies or anaphylaxis being hospitalized because of shortages because their parents had to feed them alternative products.
“We know that some children have been hospitalized due to a shortage of EleCare, a special formula for children who cannot digest other formulas and milk. Given their unique needs, children who do not have access to it may need medical supervision until the formula is returned to the shelf,” he said.
“I will not speak. This is tragic and heartbreaking and consumes the thoughts of me and my colleagues.
“Our top priority is to provide babies with safe, high-quality formula as quickly as possible.”
The CEO promised that when manufacturing resumes, the company will “go to market first”, prioritizing production of Elecare products, which are “low-allergenic formula for infants with allergies or hypersensitivity.”
Abbott also said it will launch a $5 million fund to help families with medical and living expenses as they “get through this storm.”
The CEO also described other actions taken to address the shortage in Ohio’s plan, such as converting production lines for adult nutritional products. Ireland.
This week, the FDA and Abbott announced that they have agreed to work together to resume manufacturing at their Michigan plants as soon as possible.
Ford described this as “an important step towards a quick and safe reopening.”
He said he expects the plant to reopen in the first week of June, after which it will take six to eight weeks for the formula to reach store shelves.
“By the end of June, we will be getting more formula to Americans than in January before the recall,” he wrote.
The healthcare giant is also making “significant investments to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” he said, including investing more in safety and quality control.
“These steps we take will not end the struggles of families today. “Some solutions take weeks and others take longer, but we won’t be resting until it’s done.”
For the time being, Ford has been trying to reassure concerned parents that it has “passed rigorous testing” and that “all Abbott products found on store shelves can be purchased with confidence.”
However, he acknowledged that the company must work to restore trust from American parents.
“I will not rest. I want everyone to trust us to do the right thing, and I know we should be rewarded,” he said.
The CEO’s apology comes as the first military plane to bring milk powder from Europe to the United States landed in Indiana on Sunday as the Biden administration’s efforts to supply desperately needed supplies to American families.
The White House announced on Friday that 132 pallets of Nestle Health Sciences Alfamino Baby and Alfamino Junior Formula will be shipped from Germany to the United States this weekend.
An additional 114 palettes of the Gerber Good Start Extensive HA formula will arrive this week, along with approximately 1.58 ounce bottles of the three formulas scheduled to arrive this week.
Military planes will fly formulas as part of the “Operation Fly Formula” and will be deployed to areas where they are most needed.
Brian Deese, Director of the National Economic Council CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ How the United States got into serious trouble with airlifting formulas from other countries.
“I have to ask people, perhaps, how do we get to the point where America has to airlift formula from other countries so that we can feed our children?” Dana Bash asked.
“It’s embarrassing,” Deese said, noting that three companies dominate the milk powder market and one company disrupts the entire supply chain “when you don’t follow the rules.”
“It goes back to the question of how to create more competition in the economy and more suppliers to have this formula so that individual companies don’t have this much control over their supply chain,” he said.