FDA officials appeared before a congressional panel to answer questions about the crisis after Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) recalled some baby formula products and closed its manufacturing plant in Sturgis, Michigan.
"There are also questions surrounding the FDA's investigation and response timeline," said Representative Diana DeGette, chairwoman of the U.S. House of Representatives Commerce and Energy Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.
The Democrat cited "a four-month lapse before returning to inspect the Sturgis facility" and a delay in contacting a former Abbott employee whistleblower.
The committee noted that the exact batch of contaminated infant formula that sickened four infants, resulting in two of their deaths, remains unknown.
It also mentioned the facility's earlier deficiencies, including evidence of the same potentially fatal bacteria on-site and in batches of its formula in 2019.
Chair Diana DeGette said, "Abbott is not blameless. The company appears to have neglected essential manufacturing and cleaning processes that are in place to guarantee the safety and reliability of products intended for our most vulnerable population.
Abbott, Reckitt Benckiser Group (OTCPK: RBGLY), and Nestlé SA's (OTCPK: NSRGF) Gerber Products Company hold approximately 95% of the domestic infant formula market, with each company's pre recall share estimated at 42%, 38%, and 15%, respectively.
Price Action: ABT shares are up 0.83% at $114.13 during the market session on the last check Thursday.
Photo by Okan Caliskan from Pixabay