Pregnancy Home > Generic Prenatal Vitamins
Although there are several generic prenatal vitamins available, it is difficult to know if the generic products are equivalent to the brand-name versions. This is because the FDA is not required to approve prenatal vitamins or determine if a generic is equivalent to a brand-name product. However, there may be "generic," non-prescription prenatal vitamins that contain the same ingredients as prescription prenatal vitamins.
Generic Prenatal Vitamins: An OverviewPrenatal vitamins are vitamin/mineral supplements that are specifically designed for the nutritional needs of pregnant women. Although there are numerous generic prenatal vitamins on the market, it is difficult (if not impossible) to know if generic prenatal vitamins are really equivalent to the brand-name versions.
The Trouble With Generic Prenatal VitaminsGeneric prenatal vitamins present an interesting technical problem. Because prenatal vitamins do not need FDA approval, the FDA does not give them "equivalence ratings." Equivalence ratings are used by pharmacists to determine which generic products are considered equivalent to brand-name products. In many states, a pharmacist may not dispense a generic in place of a brand-name medication unless the FDA has rated the products to be equivalent. Because prenatal vitamins do not have equivalence ratings, technically, no generic prenatal vitamin is equivalent to any brand-name prenatal vitamin.
However, depending on state laws (and how your healthcare provider writes your prescription), your pharmacist may substitute a generic prenatal vitamin that has the exact same ingredients (in the same amounts) as the brand-name product. Keep in mind that just because a generic has not been shown to be equivalent to a brand-name prenatal vitamin does not mean that it is inferior. In the past, both brand-name and generic prenatal vitamins have had problems (mostly problems with dissolving adequately). What is most important is that you choose a prenatal vitamin from a manufacturer that you trust. Your healthcare provider and pharmacist can help you choose a reputable prenatal vitamin.