Generic Baby Formula at Walmart

In addition to consulting with pediatricians and other healthcare professionals, new and expecting parents conduct extensive Internet research to prepare for parenthood. Online, they find a great deal of chatter about "generic baby formula" in their review of infant feeding options. The concept of "generics" confuses some people, however, so we want to clarify the use of the word as it pertains to infant formulas on the market today.

Some people believe the term "generic" has a negative connotation. This distrust of generic products may be the result of individuals identifying with heavily marketed and advertised brands. Another reason could be an assumption that nationally advertised brands and generic brand equivalents are different in effectiveness.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Generic or "store brand" drugs and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines that do not require a prescription are available for sale at retailers like Walmart everywhere. These store brands are sold as the retailer's own brand, with the same active ingredients as the name brand products.

Understanding Generic Drugs

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), generic prescription formulations are important options for Americans. Generic drugs allow more comprehensive access to healthcare and are equivalent to advertised brand-name prescriptions in:

  • Safety and Strength
  • Dosage and Administration
  • Quality and Performance
  • Intended Use

FDA assures physicians and their consumer patients that approved generic drugs meet the same rigid FDA standards as the pharmaceutical companies that innovated and branded the drug in the first place. Furthermore, generic companies that manufacture, package, and test drug products must meet the same quality standards as brand-name pharmaceutical-makers. Nowhere is this truer than in the realm of infant formula.

Understanding Generic Formula

Similarly, the makers of generic baby formula are required to meet the same stringent set of FDA quality and safety standards as the manufacturing companies that produce advertised brands such as Enfamil®, Similac®, and Gerber®. FDA mandates that all infant formulas marketed in the United States meet the same nutrient specifications listed in the federal agency's regulations.

In an effort to ensure safety, FDA conducts annual inspections of all U.S. infant formula manufacturing facilities. Moreover, the agency collects and analyzes baby formula samples from all production facilities.

All infant formulas sold in the United States, both generic baby formula brands and nationally advertised brands, meet the same FDA requirements. Generic formulas are nutritionally comparable to name brands, but cost less because they are not heavily advertised or offered as free formula samples to thousands of hospitals across the country. Savings of up to 50 percent are passed along to consumers.*

Understanding "generic baby formula" means knowing there is no "generic formula" on the market today. While formula manufacturers may have their own proprietary formulations, all infant formulas must contain at least the minimum levels of all nutrients specified in FDA regulations without going over the maximum levels, when maximum levels are specified.

Healthcare professionals and many consumers alike refer to "generic" over-the-counter (OTC) healthcare products as "store brands." These store brand products are just as good as nationally advertised brands, and more and more physicians and pharmacists are recommending them to their patients.

Doctors and Pharmacists Choose Store Brand Formula

New data collected from an August 2014 nationwide survey of 251 pediatricians reveals that an overwhelming majority of pediatricians (71 percent) say all infant formulas, including Walmart's Parent's Choice and other store brand formulas, are basically the same and that brands don't matter. The survey, which was conducted via SERMO, the largest online physician community, also discovered that almost two thirds (60 percent) of pediatricians say they are not recommending a specific baby formula brand when they give their patients free formula samples. They are simply giving infant formula samples to moms because they have them to give away.

In addition to physician recommendation trends, a 2013 University of Chicago study found that pharmacists choose private label/store brand remedies over brand name products at a higher rate than consumers. The results revealed that pharmacists chose store brand products 90 percent of the time, while consumers chose store brand OTC (over-the-counter) medications on average 71 percent of the time.

The reality is store brands contain the same active ingredients, are the same strength, and provide the same relief. So you can be sure store brands are every bit as good, especially when it comes to choosing an infant formula for your little one. Approximately 95 percent of moms who use Parent's Choice Formula are extremely satisfied with their experience.** Thanks to the Infant Formula Act and FDA regulations, it doesn't matter what brand of formula you pick as long as you discuss feeding options with your pediatrician. Chances are he or she will agree that brand names don't matter when choosing formula.

*Formulas and their comparable national brands. Retail prices are from a February 2016 retail price survey of assorted Wal-Mart stores. Actual prices and savings may vary by store and location. Enfamil® is a registered trademark of Mead Johnson & Co. Similac® is a registered trademark of Abbott Laboratories. Gerber® is a registered trademark of Société des Produits Nestlé, S.A. Parent's Choice Infant Formula is not made by or affiliated with Mead Johnson & Co., Abbott Laboratories, or Société des Produits Nestlé, S.A.

**Data on file.