Birth control costs on the rise

Sarah McGrath

The price women must pay to prevent unwanted pregnancy has dramatically increased on college campuses across the country.

In January the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 went into effect. The act included a provision that removed the incentives drug companies received if they provided college health centers with discounted birth control prices.

“Before the price increase, we sold a few birth control pills and the NuvaRing for $12.50 per pack or ring,” said Lori Christopher, Nurse Manager for Kent State University Health Services, in an e-mail interview. “Now we have a few types that are $15.00 per pack, but most are $25.00 per pack for generics. The NuvaRing is $42.”

Christopher said between July 2006 and July 2007 the DeWeese Health Center filled about 3,200 prescriptions for birth control for women attending Kent State. One pack of birth control will last a woman one month.

“We haven’t noticed a decrease just yet because we are still able to offer a few kinds for $15 per pack and many for $25 per pack,” Christopher said. “Over the next year, our reduced-price stock will dwindle and the students will eventually experience the shock of the price increase.”

College health centers are not the only organizations affected by the reduction act. Planned Parenthood, which also offered discounted birth control prices, has had to deal with an increase in the number of women coming to their centers for birth control.

“We have heard from individual clients that they are coming to Planned Parenthood because the price of contraceptives is so high on their college campus,” said Tara Broderick, CEO of Planned Parenthood Northeast Ohio. “Across the country about half a million college women have been affected by the act.”

Broderick said eight Planned Parenthood centers in Northeast Ohio, including the center in Kent, will no longer be able to offer birth control at the prices they once had.

“We are hoping that the prices will come back down for college health centers,” Christopher said. “We are worried that students will stop using birth control all together if they can’t afford it.”

Contact general assignment reporter Sarah McGrath at [email protected].