Pharmacies in British Columbia are being asked by the provincial government to keep their supply of specialized baby formula behind the counter.
North America is currently experiencing a supply shortage due to Ukraine being at war with Russia and the temporary closure of a major formula manufacturing plant in Michigan.
Ukraine is the world’s number one supplier of sunflower oil, a main ingredient for specialized formulas.
There is no shortage of regular baby formula, with the shortage limited to types needed by infants with certain allergies.
The B.C. government is hoping this step will help preserve supply and ensure that families in need are getting their baby what it needs.
Manufacturers are distributing hypoallergenic formulas for public purchase exclusively to pharmacies until the supply stabilizes while the Ministry of Health is encouraging people to get in contact with their local pharmacy for all their supply needs.
Families will generally be limited to buying seven to 10 days worth of specialized baby formula, but in certain situations like living in a remote community, pharmacists have been given the green light to make exceptions.
The guidelines will remain in place until the formula shortage becomes stable.
Earlier this month, Mamas for Mamas — a Kelowna non-profit organization that helps families with young children — told Castanet their own supplies were getting very low.
“There’s a huge pressure out there that breast is best," said Mamas for Mama’s manager Kelly Hopkins.
"Here at the office, we really do the whole fed is best. We’re no questions asked and we’re trying to fill that gap, but the need has increased with the shortage ... Daily we have about five or six people who walk through the door looking for formula.”