Health Center offering discount birth control after negotiations


    After two years of negotiating contracts with drug companies, the Health Center is offering contraceptives at a cheaper price.

    The negotiations began in 2005 after a provision in the Federal Deficit Reduction Act removed university health clinics from a list that benefitted from preferential prices in brand-name birth control, thus causing the price of birth control to go up, Health Center pharmacist Frank Calhoon said.

    The Health Center began offering generic oral contraceptives at $25 per pack instead of $40 in January, Calhoon said.

    These generic oral contraceptives are provided through a contract with Barr Pharmaceuticals, which develops and markets generic pharmaceuticals in order to lower the health care costs, Calhoon said.

    Jeannine Calhoon, a technician assistant at the Health Center, said some brand-name oral contraceptives are available at a 15 to 20 percent discounted rate through a contract with pharmaceutical company Warner Chilcott.

    Macy Riley, a sophomore communications major, said the cheaper birth control rates at the Health Center would attract her to use the Health Center’s services.

    Taman Sandhu, a junior neuroscience major, said the reduced prices would make birth control more accessible for students, but would have advantages and disadvantages.

    “It’s nice for those who can’t afford it,” Sandhu said. “But bad for those who take advantage of it, like the less mature.”

    Frank Calhoon said the pharmacy has not noticed an increase in students purchasing birth control since the price reductions took effect.

    The American College Health Association lobbied for university health centers around the country to be a part of the contracts that would reduce birth control prices, Calhoon said. The Association worked with the drug companies to put together contracts that would benefit students who need financial or medical assistance, he said.