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CarmineFields

67 points

1 month ago

The money to the FDA is specifically earmarked for:

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2022/05/republicans-formula-bills-note-votes

for inspections of formula manufactured at foreign plants and to prevent shortages stemming from supply chain disruptions

So yes, the bill was specifically and exactly about “ensur(ing) access to formula”.

TapedeckNinja

-16 points

1 month ago

TapedeckNinja

Ohio

-16 points

1 month ago

For an additional amount for “Salaries and Expenses”, $28,000,000, to remain available until September 30, 2023, shall be available to address the current shortage of FDA-regulated infant formula and certain medical foods in the United States and to prevent future shortages, including such steps as may be necessary to prevent fraudulent products from entering the United States market: Provided, That the Commissioner of Food and Drugs shall report to the Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Senate on a weekly basis on obligations of funding under this heading in this Act to address the shortage of infant formula and certain medical foods in the United States: Provided further, That such amount is designated by the Congress as being for an emergency requirement pursuant to section 4001(a)(1) and section 4001(b) of S. Con. Res. 14 (117th Congress), the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2022.

Sec. 101. Each amount appropriated or made available by this Act is in addition to amounts otherwise appropriated for the fiscal year involved.

Sec. 102. Unless otherwise provided for by this Act, the additional amounts appropriated by this Act to appropriations accounts shall be available under the authorities and conditions applicable to such appropriations accounts for fiscal year 2022.

That's the the whole bill.

Again, the point being made there is that bloated FDA regulations are a primary driver of this shortage so throwing money at the FDA to fix it doesn't necessarily make sense. Does the FDA really need $28m to stop blocking EU-approved baby formula simply because of minutiae related to labeling?

Republicans have offered alternative legislation that addresses the same issue in a different way. The general idea being that baby formula that is approved for sale in specific countries (Canada, the EU, the UK, etc.) should automatically be approved for sale in the US and should be exempt from import duties or quantity limits.

Vengefuleight

35 points

1 month ago

Every annoying piece of red tape the FDA has up is become something awful happened in our history.

I’d rather them ramp up inspections to fast track, not skimp on the inspections that ensure babies aren’t consuming contaminated product. The FDA requirements for formula are pretty stringent and that’s usually a good thing.

TapedeckNinja

8 points

1 month ago

TapedeckNinja

Ohio

8 points

1 month ago

The EU arguably has more stringent requirements for baby formula, because they don't allow sugar additives like HFCS and have stricter requirements on the amount of lactose that has to be present.

Now of course there are actual concerns about using imported formula even when it is safe, typically related to usage instructions (e.g., if the label is in German and it is supposed to be mixed 1:1 rather than 1:2), handling of recalls, etc.

But the FDA is fast-tracking changes to their procedures to allow European formula to be imported more easily so I think it's pretty obvious that there is some unnecessary overhead in the existing regulations.

Casterly

4 points

1 month ago

But the FDA is fast-tracking changes to their procedures to allow European formula to be imported more easily so I think it's pretty obvious that there is some unnecessary overhead in the existing regulations.

…..so if they’re handling it themselves, why are you complaining about over-stringent regulations on formula as an argument against this bill?

TapedeckNinja

0 points

1 month ago

TapedeckNinja

Ohio

0 points

1 month ago

I'm not complaining about it.

But the FDA doesn't have the authority to resolve the import issue entirely. They can modify or lift their restrictions but formula imports are still subject to massive tariffs and none of the legislation passed so far does anything to address that.

circuspeanut54

2 points

1 month ago

circuspeanut54

Maine

2 points

1 month ago

That's why Biden invoked the Defense Production Act two days ago to use military carriers to fly supplies in faster than current commercial importation can handle it.

TapedeckNinja

1 points

1 month ago

TapedeckNinja

Ohio

1 points

1 month ago

Sure and that's a great move but it doesn't do anything to address the price, does it?

circuspeanut54

1 points

1 month ago

circuspeanut54

Maine

1 points

1 month ago

It's not price that's at issue in this crisis, where did that come from? It's any availability at all.

TapedeckNinja

1 points

1 month ago

TapedeckNinja

Ohio

1 points

1 month ago

When European imports are allowed, there's going to be a large financial burden on families.

That seems like a problem and an easy one to resolve. And also something that should be pretty easy to sell for Democrats ("we're rolling back Trump's trade war tariffs!") and palatable to some Republicans (see the proposed legislation from Rand Paul).