Formula Shortage Hits NYC Parents, Special Needs Kids Hard

Babies aren’t the only ones affected by the crippling infant formula crisis: Children with special needs — and their frantic parents — are also feeling the brunt.

As parents continue to browse the bare aisles of New York stores, pharmacies are also struggling to make ends meet for young children who have formula prescriptions in the pipeline.

Roger Paganelli, the owner of Mount Carmel Family Pharmacy in the Bronx, told the Post he has “hundreds of patients” who are fed formula out of medical necessity — including children who have tubes in their stomach because they are unable to ingest food.

“These are complex and special-needs patients,” Paganelli said Thursday.

Some parents have regular, scheduled pickups for the prescription formula – but the pharmacy now has to ration it to ensure every child gets a serving.

“We try to balance and ration as best we can. It is a very sensitive situation. These are tough decisions to make,” Paganelli said.

Shady Gramajo tells the Post that if the formula her mom sent from Florida doesn’t arrive in time, she might have to take time off work.
Provided by Shady Gramajo

“Moms are stressed. They have to feed their children. Children need the formula. The pharmacy is the outlet for stress and we feel their pain.

Meanwhile, other parents are now forced to consider what comes next if they run out of formula.

Shady Gramajo, 31, of Forest Hills, Queens, told the Post she might have to miss a day of work if the formula shipment her mother sent from Florida doesn’t arrive in time for her 3-year-old daughter. month.

Andeisha Carbon Halstead
Andeisha Carbon-Halstead tells The Post that she had to switch to a brand of formula that costs double the usual price.
Steven Vago/New York Post

“If it’s not the case [arrive], I’m going to squeeze every ounce of milk I have in my breasts,” Gramajo said. “I was thinking of calling her at work and having her nurse all day on my nipple to try and get some milk.”

Gramajo said her baby drank eight bottles a day, but could only produce enough breast milk for three.

She hasn’t been able to find her baby’s formula, Enfamil Gentlease, anywhere in town.

Mount Carmel Pharmacy
Roger Paganelli, owner of Mount Carmel Pharmacy, says he has hundreds of special needs patients with infant formula prescriptions.
Robert Miller

“It’s very stressful because it’s nowhere,” Gramajo said. “I live in Queens and had to drive all the way to Manhattan and the Bronx to pick him up. I spent my whole day with my baby in the car seat. We drove for three hours.

Andeisha Carbon-Halstead, 30, of South Bronx, told the Post that she and her husband will have to cut their grocery bills so their children can eat.

The mum said she was forced to switch to an organic formula brand for her 10-month-old daughter – and it’s double the price.

Shortage of infant formula
The infant formula shortage is caused by a safety recall from formula maker Abbott due to contamination concerns.
Helayne Seidman

“Money is going to have to be moved from other things this month and probably next month,” she said. “We can’t move the money for rent or medical expenses, so it’s going to have to come out of our food budget.

“In order for our children to be able to eat, my husband and I will have to reduce our expenses.”

The shortage is the result of the Feb. 17 safety recall by formula maker, Abbott, due to contamination concerns and ongoing supply chain disruptions.

It’s had a chilling effect on New Yorkers — and parents nationwide — as retailers limit how much customers can buy and store shelves remain empty.

Doctors have urged desperate parents to turn to food banks, while warning against diluting formulas or resorting to DIY recipes online.

Mum-of-three Erika Thompson, from Wallingford, Connecticut, said it became a full-time job trying to find the hypoallergenic formula her little girl needed.

He only has a small sample left, though friends out of state mailed him his formula when they found it.

“You can travel everywhere – countless cities, stores, Amazon, online,” she said of finding shortages everywhere. “Honestly, it’s heartbreaking. Some stores have absolutely nothing and now they’re limiting you. So what do you do?”

The issue has prompted some parents to trade, sell and offer leftover supplies on social media.

Baby formula
Parents have taken to social media in an attempt to get formula.
Robert Miller

Jennifer Kersey, 36, from Cheshire, Connecticut, said she was also on her last can for her 7-month-old son when someone spotted her Facebook post on a group and dropped off some sample cans.

She said she and other members of the group are now helping each other by finding stores that have stock and providing formula milk to mothers in need.

Angels of Long Island, a thrift store in Patchogue, also began handing out donated cans for free on Wednesday.

As parents continue to struggle, Gov. Kathy Hochul said Thursday the state health department has stepped up communication with formula makers in an effort to track production, supply and shipments.

“In close coordination with our federal partners, New York State will continue to do everything possible to support New York families who need formula for their infants,” Hochul said. “My administration is committed to ensuring that every newborn and every child has access to the nutritional support they need to stay healthy.”

The state’s GOP senators — Sue Serino, Daphne Jordan and Mike Martucci — previously called on the governor to take immediate action to address shortages, including streamlining the supply chain.

“No parent should have to live in fear of not being able to find the formula they need to feed their baby,” Serino said. “This shortage and the inaction we have seen surrounding it is absolutely unacceptable and it will take committed partners at all levels to scale up production.”

Shortage of infant formula
Doctors have encouraged parents in need of infant formula to turn to food banks.
Robert Miller

With post wires

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