Formula companies and the new hoax, what do you think??

  1. I work in a family practice office where we do a lot of OB, and also help my Dr with deliveries. I had an interesting conversation with the Similac rep last month and it's been bothering me ever since. Seems our hospital is now accepting the new Similac Advance formula which supposedly contains the DhA (?) protein "like in mother's milk". However, after reviewing the studies he gave me, I pointed out that this new Similac didn't have any added benefits as the old, yet it costs $4.00 more per can. He became somewhat embarrassed and admitted that Similac made the new formula, with the added protein, whose only real and proven benefit is that the DhA is retained longer in the red blood cell than ordinary protien, so they can compete with Enfamil who has a similar product. But, Similc was sure moms would buy the new stuff and pay more because it " made them feel like they were doing something great" for their babies. I've tried to persuade Ob not to use this in our new OB kits, but they won't change their minds. Now moms are getting sucked into the higher priced formula that doesn't have any benefit. What do you all do in your hospital? We promote breastfeeding as a first choice in the clinic, and recommed formulas based on quality content and price. Any thoughts? I'm sorry if I have the abbreviations wrong ( DhA).

    Lisa
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  2. 25 Comments

  3. by   canoehead
    Remove the formula, or put a photocopied letter in the bags saying something like this MD does not endorse any particular formula, and just BC it's expensive doesn't make it better, if you have questions ask the nurse...
  4. by   SmilingBluEyes
    yep we do the same sort of thing, besides, most of our moms are on WIC and can only get enfamil. no point,really.
  5. by   cindyln
    We don't promote or give away samples of similac in our hospitals.It is breastfeeding first then enfamil.
  6. by   indynurse
    We were treated to a nice lunch/in-service about Sim Advance and how it wasn't really any closer to the "gold standard" (breastmilk) than Sim w/ Fe is. But they felt the need to market Sim Advance to compete with the Enfamil Lipil. I guess they preferred to market a more expensive new, yet really not improved, product than to educate parents on how their current product has always been as good as the new "premium" Enfamil.
    I never realized marketing baby formula was so cut throat.
  7. by   OBNURSEHEATHER
    Originally posted by indynurse
    I never realized marketing baby formula was so cut throat.
    At my hospital, we do 6 month rotations. For 6 months, Similac is house formula, and the other 6 months, Enfamil is house.

    It gets confusing, because some docs want Enfamil, some want Similac, and some don't care and just order "house." But it doesn't mean anything if the patient will be getting WIC, because here, WIC is Similac.

    So anyways, we have a Similac rep and an Enfamil rep that are very present people in our hospital do to the short length of rotations. The 2 have met once, and according to unit legend, got into a yelling match in the nursery one time. They can no longer "show up" unexpectedly. Their visits must be coordinated so they do not run into each other. :chuckle

    So, yes.... it is very cut throat.

    Heather
  8. by   Mofe'ny
    WIC is Enfamil and our standing orders are for any non-WIC patients to get Similac. Interesting to note that Similac with Fe is being replaced nationally with Similac Advance, just as Enfamil with Fe is being replaced nationally with Enfamil Lipil. So pretty soon you won't have a choice-- it depends on when the warehouses run out of the 'old' formulas according to our Enf. & Sim. reps.
    Our docs weren't happy about this at first because they didn't feel there had been enough independent studies about the new formulas. But the last time I called a Dr. because a mom was requesting similac advance, he told me, "Hell, it's just a formula."
  9. by   mark_LD_RN
    interesting topic, from the studies i have seen the new similac advance ( with the added protiens that are supposed to form ARA and DHA,note they do not actually add them) has no proven benifit. but the enfamil lipil( with actual DHA and ARA ) has actually shown to be an improvement. but nothing comes close to breast milk.

    remember "breast feed is best feed"
  10. by   SmilingBluEyes
    yes, Mark you are right.......only convincing some patients of this is hard, even today. Really, all we can do is educate. Meantime, Formula Companies are *oh-so-smart*.......they even send reps to take staff members out to dinner a places like the Olive Garden. I refuse to participate, in protest and out of principle. I have been "talked to" about this by a supervisor, but refuse to change my stance. EVEN OUR LACTATION SPECIALIST GOES TO THESE LUNCHEONS/DINNERS! (I KNOW it is to glean info regarding the latest ploys/techniques formula companies are using to draw customer bases)

    ....I will say this, they do this enough in the numerous mailings I get cause "someone" out there in FormulaLand KNOWS I am OB/NEWBORN NURSE. That is more than enough for me. I am NOT amused or convinced, yet.
  11. by   at your cervix
    We give our pt's the choice, enfamil or similac. If on WIC, must be enfamil.
  12. by   babynurselsa
    Well I found it interesting that after several months of the Similac rep bringing in studies to show us that Enfamil couldn't prove their claims regarding DHA and Ara, that they then needed to come out with their own version.
    Our Sim rep does state that the Enfamil lipil has much higher levels of each than the Advance does.
    I just eat my nice lunch, collect my CEU's and pocket my pens, and go and promote breastfeeding.
    I think that 99.9999% of what they all say is bull anyway.
  13. by   shay
    I just like the freebies I get from the formula reps. :chuckle Yes, I'm going straight to hell. :chuckle

    "Just like mother's milk." Hmmmm.........now WHY would one fork out $8 a can for something "just like mother's milk" when they can have the REAL THING for free (assuming mom and babe are bf-capable)? Blows my mind.

    I plan on bf for the health benefits, of course, and the bonding issue. But SHOOT!! I'm CHEAP too!! :chuckle And I don't wanna be forever mixing and washing bottles. I'm LAZY!!! LOL.
  14. by   dawngloves
    Originally posted by shay
    I just like the freebies I get from the formula reps. :chuckle Yes, I'm going straight to hell. :chuckle

    .
    Right! Just give me my travel mug and pen, thank you!

    I belive that they are phasing out "regular" formulas and will only have the DHA types. That is all we have on our unit now.

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