A strange article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal put negative spin on one unintended consequence of the Deficit Reduction Act, signed into law last year by President Bush: birth control pill usage.
Because of it, big pharma has had to raise prices of name brand birth control pills, which it previously sold to college “health centers” at a cut rate (which they then sold to students with a mark-up as a little money maker).
Now, “college students are making some tough choices, such as switching to cheaper generic brands….”
Since when is the chance to buy generic brands “tough”?
No, such a move could cause intelligent college women to falter, according to the article….
Such changes concern health professionals, who fear that switching is going to lead to unintended pregnancies by women who are less likely to consistently take a daily pill. “One of the seminal concepts in contraceptive medicine is when a woman is using a method correctly and successfully, the last thing you want to do is change her from that,” says Lee Shulman, board chairman of the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals. “You don’t want to change her unless there is an absolute medical necessity to do so.”
He says even switching from one type of daily pill to another can pose new risks for side effects and discomfort, potentially leading women to stop taking it.
Dr. Shulman may be right. Just yesterday I became hopelessly confused when attempting to substitute generic rice cereal in my Rice Krispie Treats recipe.
Actually, the author of this article, Anne Marie Chaker, either failed to mention or failed to research the fact that Shulman is tied in numeous financial knots to big pharma.
ARHP (launched by Alan Guttmacher and Planned Parenthood) has received a $3 million grant from Ortho Pharmaceutical Corp. “to promote oral contraceptives,” according to ARHP’s website, a $1.2 million grant from Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories for “a training series on Norplant,” and a $2.4 million educational grant from the Upjohn Company, maker of Depo-Provera.
More importantly, Shulman is a consultant and/or on the speakers’ bureaus of and/or received grant and research support from DuraMed Pharmaceuticals (maker of Seasonique extended-cycle oral contraceptives and subsidiary of Barr Pharmaceuticals, maker of Plan B emergency contraceptive), Wyeth Pharmaceuticals (maker of Lybrel oral contraceptive), Berlex, Inc. (maker of Yaz oral contraceptive), GlaxoSmithKline (maker of Elogen oral contraceptive), Ortho-McNeil (maker of Ortho Eva birth control patch and Ortho Tri-Cyclen birth control pill), , and Warner Chilcott (maker of Ferncon Fe, the first chewable birth control tablet).
No wonder Shulman is alarmed. Tsk-tsk, WSJ.
Nevertheless, isn’t the liberal view usually that comsumption (like cigarette smoking and car usage) drops when prices rise? Not so here.