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Law Spikes Price of Pill on College Campuses

US university students are paying about five times more for the birth-control pill than they were a few months ago, due to a provision in the Deficit Reduction Act. Many lawmakers say the provision, which prevents drug companies from donating the pill to campuses as a way to attract brand loyalty, was an unintended consequence of the legislation.

Activists, including actress Amber Tamblyn, want to fix the mistake and are lobbying Congress to pass the Prevention Through Affordable Access Act. They say there is no good reason to prevent the donation of medicines, which reduce the price of the pill for struggling college students. With the pill spiking to more than $50 a month (from $12) some female students report taking up more part-time work, or cutting back on their grocery or social spending.

Still others, including proponents of abstinence, argue that it is irresponsible and detrimental to student health to distribute discounted oral contraception that does not prevent STDs.

Will the price of the pill make it unfordable to some, and therefore lead to more unintended pregnancies, or will students just have less beer money? Is it fair that the financial burden imposed by the law is disproportionately felt by female students?


Join The Conversation
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
Thank you for your lovely comments. Coming from a Clinton Supporter, I'll consider the source, and adjust a response accordingly (as in none)
Hey, undave, when your penis becomes a vagina, then maybe your opinion on this subject will matter. Until then, educate your teenage daughter about abstinence only and see if she's not pregnant at 16. Have fun with the grandchild you'll be raising, because your 16 year old was never taught the proper way of protecting herself. The highest number of teenage pregnancy comes from those who enforce the abstinence only route. I've been on the Pill for a long time, and ya know what, I'm not a hoe. I'll be laughing when you daughter comes back from college with Herpes and HPV, because her wonderful parents failed to teach her how to be safe. Well, atleast then she'll be unlikely to be able to have children.
m1225 m1225 9 years
Wow.. that's a really big loophole. Also, it's ridiculous to think college students shouldn't have access to the pill because it doesn't protect from STDs. Pregnancies that are unwanted can end in abortion, so I think the pill is an important part of the equation and should be used in conjunction with condoms.
shanimalcracker shanimalcracker 9 years
The fact that birth control is becoming more expensive is definitely disheartening. I started taking the pill last December because my cramps are unbearable every month to the point that when I was in college, I would have to stay in my room all day with my heat pad to try to feel better. One day I went to work for twenty minutes and then had to drive home because I was feeling so bad. Being on the pill definitely helps with this and was my main concern for taking the plunge to be put on medication. Even using my work insurance costs me $25 a month, which I think is pretty expensive. When I leave to law school this August, knowing that the price will go up to keep my body sane is pretty hard to bear.
angelfromlsu angelfromlsu 9 years
Even if you are "married", having a kid will still financially strain you. I used birth control for many years due to irregular periods and hormonal problems without being sexually active. Now that I have a serious love bug I haven't use birth control in 6 years. No pregnancies in that time which I find funny. Just keep in mind a lot of chicks take the pill for other health reasons. I had a roommate that was unbearably depressed without being on the pill. She also had to change her prescription every 2 years due to getting used to it.
girlgreen girlgreen 9 years
I am annoyed by some early comments that suggest people should not be having sex if they can't afford birth control. So if you're young and well-off, you are allowed the "privilege" of having sex, but if you're young and poor, you're not? Every woman should have access to affordable birth control, whatever affordable means to them. Also, some people have said that they should simply reinstate the discount and the problem would be solved. But how could they do that if the discount was a result of the donation of pills, which is now prohibited? They can't just overturn the entire legislation.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
"birth control also has legitimate medicinal/therapeutic advantages for many women." This is so true. I have had a ton of friends who take it for cramps, or because they have crazy monthly issues. Plus, the reason it takes so much effort to get the pill is that they want to make sure that women are getting their check ups on a regular basis. To get the pill, they have to get an exam, and it is good for women to go to the doctor on a regular basis. Just because a woman is on the pill, does NOT mean that she doesn't have "romance" with her partner. It doesn't mean that she doesn't know him very well. It doesn't mean that she slept with him on their first date. Judging people in this way is not accurate.
jennifer76 jennifer76 9 years
I am just sick of the government delegated what is and isn't morally correct. Lauren, nothing in the bill was specifically aimed at birth control. From the linked article...
Ironically the increased price was the result of a provision in the bill aimed at saving taxpayers money. The deficit act was designed, in part, to stop Medicaid rebate abuse.
The Deficit Reduction Act was signed into law by President Bush back in 2006. Why is this only happening now? It sounds like the Prevention Through Affordable Access Act should pass sometime this year and it should be back to business as usual with birth control on college campuses.
JLew1982 JLew1982 9 years
I am all for people being able to get cheap birth control. As a student, I find it too expensive myself. But if you'd rather spend money on birth control than groceries and other expenses, I think there is something wrong with your priorities.
yesteryear yesteryear 9 years
stephley: you're right. but to many, abstinence isn't a cultural issue, or a health issue, it's a religious issue. that means there is no reasoning with people who believe it is "the only way". even when there is statistical and scientific proof that abstinence does not work.
stephley stephley 9 years
Here we're talking about reinstating a discount that was 'inadvertently' cut off - unless it wasn't inadvertent, I don't see what the big deal is. Put it back and let's get on with life. People who talk of abstinence and simply not having sex should try looking back in recent history - it's not an effective plan. Even Nancy Reagan was pregnant when she married.
yesteryear yesteryear 9 years
my grandmother was shipped to mississippi for the majority of her pregnancy and then came back to SF to give birth in a hospital with other girls who were going through the same process. and she wasn't a teenager - she was 20 years old at the time. the son she gave away for adoption actually found her 45 years later - he'd grown up about 3 hours east of us. she actually wrote a book about it after he found her and got some small publicity for the "open birth records" movement that was really strong in the 90s. lots of kids who were given up during this period can't track down their mothers because the birth records are sealed.
LaurenG22 LaurenG22 9 years
yesteryear- I was not speaking about me per say as much as for all women in general. I am not on the pill- I am married and am sick of artificial hormones. Besides- my insurance (military) makes all medicines free so I could definitely afford being on it if I chose to. I am just sick of the government delegated what is and isn't morally correct. As a history major, limiting women's access to birth control and abortions (cough cough I SAID it!) was detrimental.
yesteryear yesteryear 9 years
stephley: we are on the same wavelength - thank you for the stats.
yesteryear yesteryear 9 years
lauren: if you can prove that you are low income, yes you can still get the pill at planned parenthood. and your boyfriend/partner can also go there and get tested for STDs, and get counseling about safe sex if he wants it. many don't know this - but planned parenthood serves men and women.
stephley stephley 9 years
"The sharpest rate of increase in unwed motherhood occurred between 1940 and 1958, when it tripled from 7.1 births per 1,000 unmarried women to 21.2." Someone was doing the nasty in the good old days Auntie - but of course you didn't have to associate with those girls because they were shipped off to homes for unwed mothers several states over before they started to show.
yesteryear yesteryear 9 years
auntie coosa: you can still get pregnant after you've met the guy's parents and siblings and after he's romanced you and after you've found out "who he is". your argument doesn't really apply here... unless you're suggesting that the end of this idyllic courtship process is a wedding ring and a romantic honeymoon where both people lose their virginity together. i wonder what the percentage of people who've actually done that is these days? 10%? less? please! getting pregnant has nothing - NOTHING - to do with how well you know someone. it's a physiological fact of life and even if you date one guy for 3 years and then finally sleep with him, you can still get pregnant. and our grandparents got pregnant before marriage too - you just don't hear about it because back then you were shipped off to a "home for unwed mothers", given a fake name, and forced to hand over your baby after giving birth, unless you wanted to face the scorn and shame of having a baby out of wedlock (and lose any chance of marrying another man because you were forever known as a "loose woman"). why do i know all of this? because my own grandmother gave birth to a baby in 1947 and went through that entire process, right here in the center of liberal america - san francisco. it happened a lot back then - read about it. people were not more "moral" then, they were just shamed more by society.
LaurenG22 LaurenG22 9 years
Can't you still go to Planned Parenthood and get the pill cheaply? just curiuous. I am sick of the government being in my bedroom!
yesteryear yesteryear 9 years
the true irony in all of this is that credit card companies can set up a table on a college campus and convince kids to sign up for a $5,000 limit card just to get a free domino's pizza, yet girls who want to make an intelligent, conscious decision about their own reproductive system has to pay up to $50/month for birth control pills. for those of you here who have never gone through it (ahem, men) you have no idea what it's like to even get birth control. even at planned parenthood (which you're probably against as well) you have to go through a medical examination (an invasive one, at that) and speak with a doctor or nurse before you are given pills. it's not as simple as walking into a walgreens and buying a bottle of aleve. and the pill is the easiest of all of them... young women have had to go through all kinds of hell to protect themselves from pregnancy - depo provera shots, norplant, IUDs, etc. i'd love to see a man go in for a shot of hormones every three months from a needle that's 11 inches long. most would cry and run out with their tail between their legs. if you want to take away a young woman's access to birth control then you should probably also consider mandatory paternity tests and imprisonment for deadbeat dads who walk away from a woman and "her" baby after they've had their 30 seconds of fun. yes, i said 30 seconds for a reason.
Auntie-Coosa Auntie-Coosa 9 years
You could easily SAVE the money by not including sexual intimacy as part of your "dating" scene. Kids today do the "hi, I'm Pixie, let's have sex before we exchange last names." Where did THAT attitude come from? Oh, yeah, their parents were raised by the hippie generation and were never taught morals and ethics. And it shows. If you don't want kids, then do not engage in activities that could lead to pregnancy. If you don't want STDs, then you don't engage in activities, orally or otherwise, that could lead to an STD. There is nothing wrong with abstinence and there's nothing wrong with "secondary abstinence" -- a person can quit and become celibate until marriage. It's not as if anyone must have sex to live and breathe and eat and sleep. Keep your legs together and your pants zipped and learn what ROMANCE means. Respect yourself and respect other people. You are not the sum of your parts, you are more than the sum. You are better than your urges and impulses. Ever wonder what it would be like to fly? Did you follow through and jump off a cliff? Well, having sex is like that. And the pill is not a parachute. You can still catch HIV/AIDs when using the pill. So let's be honest with ourselves . . . let's get to know ourselves first . . . and then, let's get to know a lot of other people. And having sex is not a part of "getting to know you." But learning how that person treats others, treats his/her parents and siblings, handles stressful situations, how many friends he/she has, and how that person reacts over a twelve to eighteen month period of time BEFORE you even consider unzipping and pulling down your panties. AND by that time, if you're still together, you'll have grown in love. And if not, you don't have the baggage of sexual intimacy horning in on your other relationships. And who made it a rule that you can only date one person at a time? Did that start when having sexual intimacy right after the apartment/dorm room/house front door opened? When I was young, we dated four or six or ten at a time. And hand holding was considered first base. And it was a time of romance and caring and kindness. And a lot of other things. Go ask your grandparents and great grand parents if they're still around.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
I'm feeling the love :) You all have a good weekend too. Time to go play with the kids :)
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
yep, still love ya dave! have a good weekend! :)
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
Don't worry Dave! We still love ya!! :)
springfieldrocks springfieldrocks 9 years
this is an interesting debate, to be sure....anyone who's read, oh, i don't know, ANY statistics recently, KNOWS that folks of all ages have sex. no debate. it is how it is. NO MATTER how you feel about it, they do it. ALOT of them would happily purchase a DECENTLY priced birth control. i mean, if you don't want kids, why would you even WANT to go through the pain of pregnancy and abortion/adoption? the point of the article doesn't even really TALK ABOUT the fight of sex or abstinence...THE POINT IS that a RESPONSIBLE law, barring drug companies from gifting scripts when it is JUST to gain company loyalty through new customer, has barred many companies from DONATING birth control to universities. If a company WANTS to DONATE birth control, i don't CARE what their reasons are. Less unexpected babies will ALWAYS mean less unexpected welfare mothers. how many of you ACTUALLY see this as a bad thing?!
TrnSmleShiftRpt TrnSmleShiftRpt 9 years
I got my birth control for free, but they are now charging it. I was able to get on a program to get it paid for me since I'm a poor college student, but it still stinks for people that have to pay for it.
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