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CVS, Walgreens limit formula purchases amid supply shortages

This is happening as a key facility remains shuttered. The pharmacy giant now has a three-product limit.
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As it confronts ongoing supply shortages of baby formula, CVS said Friday it would now limit how much product customers can purchase at its pharmacies.

In a statement to NBC News, CVS confirmed customers would only be allowed to buy three baby formula products per purchase in stores and online.

"We’re continuing to work with our baby formula vendors to address this issue, and we regret any inconvenience this causes our customers," a company spokesperson said.

Walgreens issued a similar statement:

"Due to increased demand and various supplier challenges, infant and toddler formulas are seeing constraint across the country," the the Illinois-based company said. "Similar to other retailers, we put into effect purchase limits of three per transaction on all infant and toddler formula to help improve inventory. We continue to work diligently with our supplier partners to best meet customer demands."

Other media outlets reported that Target and Walmart were also limiting purchases. Representatives for those companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The shortage has been prompted in part by the shutdown of a major formula production facility owned by Abbott Labs in Sturgis, Michigan. That shutdown, in turn, was the result of a federal investigation into reports of contaminated products there that may have contributed to the deaths of infants.

An Abbott spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In a blog post dated April 15, Abbott said it was working to increase production at its other facilities.

"We will continue to work closely with the FDA to implement corrective actions at the Michigan facility," it said.

Retail data firm Datasembly found that nearly one-third of baby formula products were out of stock in April.

“Inflation, supply chain shortages and product recalls have brought an unprecedented amount of volatility for baby formula,” said Datasembly founder and CEO Ben Reich in a statement. “We expect to continue to see the baby formula category being dramatically affected by these conditions."