Ohio WIC Infant Formula Shortages and Flexibilities Update

Due to the infant formula shortages, Ohio WIC had been offering several flexibilities, including more formula options (brands and container sizes) for standard milk and soy-based infant formula and specialty infant formula. These flexibilities ended on June 30, 2023 in accordance with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) Unwinding Infant Formula Flexibilities in WIC policy.

Ohio WIC remains aware of the ongoing formula supply challenges and will continue to work with local WIC projects, formula manufacturers, and authorized WIC vendors on this issue. The following flexibilities will remain in effect:

  • Selection of multiple formulas. Prescribing healthcare providers may select the top two to three formulas that meet the participant’s needs, indicating first, second, and third recommended formulas on the Ohio WIC Prescribed Formula and Food Request Form. WIC Health Professionals will work collaboratively with families enrolled in WIC to determine which option will be issued to the WIC Nutrition Card.
  • Verbal orders. Healthcare professionals may give medical documentation verbally over the phone to a WIC Health Professional, but it must be followed up with the written authorized prescription form within two weeks of the verbal order.
  • Issuance of ready to feed (RTF) formula. RTF formula may be issued when a non-RTF (e.g., powder or concentrate) authorized formula is unavailable or difficult to find due to supply chain issues.

Formula shortage resources are available at www.odh.ohio.gov/wic.

Enfamil Infant and Enfamil Gentlease:

  • Ohio WIC authorizes Enfamil Infant formula in powder and concentrate, and Enfamil Gentlease formula in powder form. Please note that Enfamil NeuroPro Infant and Enfamil NeuroPro Gentlease powder were temporarily authorized through the formula waivers and are no longer available.
  • Enfamil NeuroPro Infant and Enfamil NeuroPro Gentlease are authorized in RTF only; however, RTF formulas should only be issued under the following circumstances: o Water supply has been determined to be unsafe by state or local health department.
  • Caregiver’s inability to prepare concentrate of powder formula properly.
  • Infant is premature, low birth weight, or immunocompromised and the formula is only available in RTF or powder forms.
  • Availability/supply chain issues (temporary flexibility).

Hypoallergenic infant formula:

  • Store brand hypoallergenic infant formulas will remain on the Ohio WIC Authorized Formulas List. Prescribing healthcare providers may continue to select “or store brand equivalent” on the Ohio WIC Prescribed Formula and Food Request Form.
  • Similac Alimentum is back in production and available in many stores across Ohio.
  • Pepticate was added to the Ohio WIC Authorized Formulas List last March.

As a reminder, special formulas issued by WIC must be prescribed for their specific nutrient content related to treatment of a medical condition. Prescription requests for special formulas must still contain all of the following information:

  • Participant’s name and date of birth.
  • Amount of formula to be provided per day (must be a specific, measurable volume).
  • Intended length of use of the formula (not to exceed six months).
  • Documented medical diagnosis (must relate to the special formula requested).
  • Name of formula.
  • Any contraindications for other supplemental foods that WIC provides.
  • Signature, credentials, and telephone number of the prescribing healthcare provider.
  • Date prescribed.

WIC cannot approve a special formula request if the formula:

  • Prescription does not include the minimum information outlined in this letter.
  • Does not meet WIC requirements for issuance.
  • Is prescribed solely for weight management or nonspecific “intolerance.”

A copy of the Ohio WIC Prescribed Formula and Food Request Form is attached.

WIC Health Professionals will work with healthcare providers to obtain any missing data and provide expedient service to participants. The health professionals in the WIC clinics make decisions related to the issuance of formulas and foods based on WIC policy and an individualized nutrition assessment.

Thank you for the care you give to Ohio’s children and families and your continued support of the Ohio WIC program. If you should have any questions, please contact your local WIC office.

Corey J. Shepherd, MS, RD, LD, CLS
Director, Ohio WIC Program

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