WASHINGTON — Frustrated chairwoman Nancy Pelosi suggested Tuesday that indictments could be issued in connection with the national infant formula shortage once the dust settles.
“I think when all of this is done – I’m not associating my colleagues with what I’m going to say now, I’m just saying it myself – I think there might be a need for indictment,” he said. Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters at a news conference about legislative plans to address the shortage and prevent future ones.
Pelosi did not say who could be charged, and a spokesperson did not clarify his remarks.
The speaker’s remarks came shortly after House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., took aim at both the Food and Drug Administration and infant formula maker Abbott Nutrition. .
“We’re going to investigate Abbott, and the chips should fall where they can,” DeLauro said. “People have to be responsible, whether it’s at the FDA or at Abbott.”
Abbott closed its Sturgis, Michigan plant after the FDA launched an investigation into the facility. Four babies who drank Abbott’s formula contracted bacterial infections and were hospitalized. Two of them died. Abbott has denied any wrongdoing.
Pelosi called infant deaths a “sin.”
Several congressional committees have opened investigations into the formula shortage, including the House Oversight and House Energy and Commerce panels.
The Energy and Commerce Committee said Tuesday that senior FDA officials and executives from three major infant formula companies will testify at a May 25 hearing. FDA Commissioner Robert Califf and Christopher Calamari, a senior Abbott executive, are among those facing lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
The FDA and Abbott announced an agreement on Monday to resume operations at the Michigan plant, which has been closed since February.
The same day, the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit alleging that Abbott had operated its Sturgis facility “under conditions and using practices inconsistent with regulations designed to ensure the quality and safety of infant formula, including including protection against the risk of contamination by bacteria. ”