Can someone explain this WIC policy to me?

Okay, my daughter receives WIC checks for formula. They only allow Similac or Enfamil, and only the 12.4 oz size cans.

These cans cost $14.99 each. I'm not complaining about the price, because I don't actually pay for them, but they are spendy.

Now, I have seen non-brand name formula (with the exact same ingredients, I checked) priced at $11 for 25 oz.

Why doesn't WIC use that formula instead? It seems like it would save the government a lot of money...

Just curious if anybody knows the reasoning behind this. I'm guessing Similac and Enfamil pay to be the only formulas offered by WIC, but that's just my guess.

Update:

Asrai: Not all women can physically breastfeed. I produce breast milk, but have to pump it and feed it by bottle because my daughter has a lip issue and can't latch on my breast. I make enough for her to eat but not enough to store large amounts, so I use formula to supplement when she is not with me.

It's just ignorant to assume that the women who don't breastfeed are doing it because it's easier. I would much rather just breastfeed, instead of spending twice the amount of time to pump and bottle.

11 Answers

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  • Best Answer

    Where I live you can ONLY get Similac. From my understanding, they have set up agreements with these companies and because they buy SO much formula in bulk, they are offered a discount or rebate from the manufacturer. You are right, they could pay for the right to be the formulas offered as well. Also, the store brands, which are generally nutritionally equivalent, would make you limited to one store.

  • ?
    Lv 6
    9 years ago

    I think that must be the case. And a note about pumping. If a lady doesn't want to breast feed she is not going to take time to pump her milk for her baby or to pump it when she goes to work she will just buy formula. Seems like you wanted too. I did breast feed but for some reason it was very hard for me to pump. I was on wic but did not get as much formula as a bottle fed baby because it was only meant to supplement her. The reason is because the Wic people told me to say that so I would have back up formula if needed.

  • Beth
    Lv 6
    9 years ago

    Similac and Enfamil provide big discounts to the WIC program. So for WIC, those brands are actually cheaper than the store brands.

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    Not everyone has access to the same store brands. I'm surprised you are given the choice of Similac or Enfamil. Usually each state only gives one or the other. Such as when I lived in Ohio, WIC gave you Enfamil, but when I moved to South Dakota, they gave you Similac.

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  • 9 years ago

    My guess is because store brand formula really just limits you to one store, whereas if you get similac or enfamil you can get it at pretty much every store. I've always wondered the same thing. It would save the government thousands of dollars every month.

  • Pippin
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    Yes, the government negotiates with the formula companies and gets the brand name formulas at a discount. So they paying considerably less than the retail price. (WIC buys SO much formula that the companies can easily afford to take a smaller profit ... but I assure you that even at WIC prices they are still making a profit. And, should their profits fall a bit, they'll just raise prices for the women who have to buy their own formula.)

  • 9 years ago

    I imagine WIC makes a deal with the formula company they choose

  • jlb
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    You are exactly right. Formula companies spend tons of money lobbying to be the brand WIC uses.

  • 9 years ago

    Pippin is correct. I once asked my WIC agent that and pippin's answer was what I was told. Good question, I had wondered the same thing.

  • 9 years ago

    thats weird. where i live wic gives gerber good start formula. i have no idea why though.its a good question. ask at your next appointment

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