Attorney General James Delivers More Than 4,600 Cans of Baby Formula in New York City

AG James Secured Formula from Walgreens for Price Gouging During 2022 Shortage
Second Delivery of Baby Formula by AG James Following Agreement with Walgreens for Price Gouging

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today delivered 4,668 cans of baby formula to New Yorkers in New York City as a result of her investigation into Walgreens Co. (Walgreens) for illegally raising prices of baby formula during the 2022 shortage. The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) began an investigation into Walgreens’ price gouging of baby formula following reports and consumer complaints about unreasonably high costs of the product. Attorney General James secured over 9,500 cans of baby formula from Walgreens, of which 4,668 were already delivered to New Yorkers in Western New York. In addition, Walgreens will pay a $50,000 penalty to resolve the OAG investigation. The 4,668 cans of baby formula distributed today have a wholesale value of approximately $150,000 and will go to the Met Council, which will help distribute them throughout New York City. 

“Price gouging of baby formula when parents are desperate to feed their children amid a national baby food shortage is illegal and unconscionable,” said Attorney General James. “Parents should never have to worry about feeding their babies because companies are taking advantage of a national emergency to raise prices. Today, hundreds of families will be able to get free baby formula from an agreement my office reached with Walgreens for price gouging. I am proud to deliver this baby formula to the Met Council which works day in and day out to help those who need it most.”

Met Council (1)
Met Council (2)

AG James, Met Council CEO David Greenfield, and volunteers assemble baby supply care packages with baby formula for low-income parents.

Millions of infants throughout the country are reliant on formula as their primary or supplemental food source, and a 2022 shortage caused by a plant closure and recall created significant hardship for families across New York state. In May 2022, Attorney General James issued warnings to more than 30 retailers across the state to stop overcharging for baby formula after consumers reported unreasonably high prices. An OAG investigation triggered by consumer reports found that Walgreens engaged in price gouging on at least 20 infant formula products. Walgreens raised retail prices by over 10 percent on those products. For some products, Walgreens’ price increase was over 20 percent, and in one case, it was over 70 percent. The OAG’s investigation found that Walgreens made over 2,400 individual formula sales at these inflated prices, selling over 3,400 cans or bottles of formula and bringing in over $150,000 in revenue. 

Met Council is a cornerstone nonprofit in New York City, offering various services to uplift vulnerable New Yorkers. Beyond its network of over 200 food pantries, Met Council provides comprehensive housing support, domestic violence victims services, career development programs, and much more to hundreds of thousands in need. These services are designed not only to meet immediate needs, like the upcoming distribution of 4,668 cans of baby formula, but also to empower individuals and families for the long term.

“We are so grateful to Attorney General Letitia James for the opportunity to give out more than 4,600 containers of baby formula to the neediest New Yorkers,” Met Council CEO David G. Greenfield said. “Having a baby is wonderful, but it’s also incredibly expensive, and baby formula is one of the most expensive items that babies need. This event will go a long way towards helping babies and families who need it. At Met Council, our goal is to always assist those in need, no matter who they are or where they’ve come from. We are fortunate to have a friend and ally in Attorney General James, who is always fighting for justice.”

Attorney General James has been a leader in the fight to protect New York consumers and guard against price gouging. In May 2023, Attorney General James secured a $100,000 settlement with Quality King Distributors, Inc. due to unconscionable price increases for Lysol products during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. In March 2023, Attorney General James announced price gouging rules to protect consumers and small businesses from corporate profiteering. The rules would strengthen enforcement of New York’s price gouging law. In April 2021, Attorney General James delivered 1.2 million eggs to food pantries throughout the state which were secured as part of an agreement with the nation’s largest egg producers for price gouging in the early months of the pandemic. Throughout the pandemic, during major disruptions, and ahead of declared disasters, Attorney General James has issued consumer warnings against price gouging on essential supplies.

New Yorkers should report potential concerns about price gouging to the OAG by filing a complaint online or calling 800-771-7755.

This matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Fishman, under the supervision of Bureau Chief Jane M. Azia and Deputy Bureau Chief Laura J. Levine, all of the Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau. Data Scientist Jasmine McAllister also assisted in this matter, under the supervision of former Directors Jonathan Werberg and Megan Thorsfeldt and Acting Director Gautam Sisodia, all of the Research and Analytics Department. The Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau is a part of the Division for Economic Justice, which is led by Chief Deputy Attorney General Chris D’Angelo and is overseen by First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy.