January 11, 1996
GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES NEW STATE PACT FOR NUTRITION PROGRAM WILL PROVIDE MORE FUNDS FOR VULNERABLE KIDS
SPRINGFIELD, IL -- Gov. Jim Edgar announced today the state has negotiated a contract that will generate funds to expand a nutrition program for vulnerable women and children.
The Governor said the Illinois Department of Public Health has secured the nation's highest per can rebate on infant formula provided through the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).
"At a time when there are limited state and federal resources, rebates allow the state to expand an effective, cost-efficient wellness program that provides our most vulnerable children with their best chance at a healthy life," Edgar said. "WIC is an important component of our infant mortality efforts, and these extra dollars will help at least 10,000 more women and children receive proper nutrition."
Under terms of a new three-year contract, starting Feb. 1, Ross Products, a division of Abbott Laboratories, Abbott Park, Ill., will rebate $2.42 to the Department for each of the 22 million cans of iron-fortified formula distributed annually to Illinois WIC participants. The amount rebated will increase for every cent the wholesale price goes up.
The previous high rebate in the United States was $2.33 per can, which was established by Alabama in May 1995.
Over the three years of the new Illinois contract, the Department estimates it will receive nearly $160 million in rebates.
For the past three years, the Department has had a rebate contract with Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories of Philadelphia. In the most recent year of the contract, the Department received a rebate of $2.05 per can of formula, or about $44 million a year.
Ross Products sells formula under the brand names of Similac with Iron and Isomil. Beginning Feb. 1, WIC food instruments (coupons) will specify the Ross Products brands. Non-contract formulas will be available only if the WIC client has medical conditions that would not tolerate the iron-fortified formulas.
To qualify for WIC, a woman or child must be shown to be at nutritional risk, such as anemia or an inadequate diet. The program serves nutritionally deficient women and children whose family income falls within 185 percent of the government defined poverty line. The maximum annual income for a family of four is $28,028.
The federally-funded WIC program provides nutrition education and vouchers for foods rich in calcium, iron and protein for pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women, and babies and children up to 5 years of age.
Unlike food stamps, which can be used to purchase many kinds of foods, WIC participants are issued food coupons that are prescriptions that fit their individual needs. WIC coupons can be used to obtain infant formula, milk, eggs, cheese, peanut butter, juice, beans and iron-fortified cereals.
For additional information about the WIC program, persons can call the Department's toll-free hotline, 1-800-323-GROW (voice and hearing impaired).
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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