College Students Face Soaring Birth Control Prices

Posted on May 25, 2007

An Associated Press article on MSNBC says prices for birth control pills are doubling and tripling on college campuses. Hugh Jessop, executive director of the health center at Indiana University, told MSNBC that it was a "tremendous problem" for students.

There, he said, women are paying about $22 per month for prescriptions that cost $10 a few months ago. "Some of our students have two jobs, have children," Jessop said. "To increase this by 100 percent or more overnight, which is what happened, is a huge shock to them and to their system."

At some schools women could see prices rise several hundred dollars per year.

About 39 percent of undergraduate women use oral contraceptives, according to an estimate by the American College Health Association based on survey data.

Many students could shift to generics but experts said they might still pay twice the previous rate.

"It's terrible, because these are students who are working very hard to pay for their tuition and books at a time when tuition costs are edging up as well," said Linda Lekawski, director of the university health center at Texas A&M, where the old price for birth control pills of about $15 per month is expected to triple. "This is one thing they've been able to benefit from for years."

The prices are rapidly increasing becasue of President Bush's Deficit Reduction Act Of 2005 bill from 2005. The bill cut into programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. This article which says some students may be paying four or five times the amount they used to for birth control pills explains how the bill thwarted student medical centers from purchasing pills in bulk for their students.
Before the act, pharmaceutical companies supplied the medications to certain health care providers such as universities and public clinics at a heavily discounted price. Now, the incentives for the companies to offer the drugs at the lower prices have been eliminated and without them the companies have removed the discounts rather than maintaining the lower price and taking the loss.

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