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B.C. pharmacies told to keep baby formula behind the counter during shortage

A can of Toddler Nutritional Drink is shown on a shelf in a grocery store, Friday, June 17, 2022, in Surfside

VICTORIA – The threat of a shortage of specialized infant formulas in British Columbia has prompted an order from the Ministry of Health to put the containers behind the counter.

The ministry says in a statement the guidelines to pharmacies will help preserve supply during the temporary Canada-wide shortage of hypoallergenic formulas.

The statement says manufacturers are distributing the specialized formulas for public purchase exclusively to pharmacies until more product is available.

There’s no shortage of regular infant formulas in B.C., but food for babies with allergies and certain medical conditions is in short supply.

The statement says families will generally be limited to a 10-day to two-week supply unless they’re in remote communities or have other access issues.

The voluntary recall and temporary closure by the Abbott’s formula plant in Michigan created the shortage, but the facility opened again on June 4 and the statement says the formulas will gradually become more available.

“Health Canada has also allowed certain infant formulas from other countries to be sold in Canada during the shortage. These formulas meet the same safety standards as Canadian products,” the statement says.

The rules will be in place until the supply stabilizes.

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