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14-11-2010 | Gynaecology | Article

Out-of-pocket spend and dispensing limits, barriers to contraception


Journal abstract

MedWire News: Women pay a substantial amount of money out-of-pocket for oral contraception (OC) and, although they are improving, dispensing limits still remain, report US researchers.

"More work needs to be done to remove any barriers that prevent women from obtaining as many pills packs as they want," suggest Su-Ying Liang, from the University of California San Francisco, and colleagues.

The group examined trends in out-of-pocket spending and the number of OC packs obtained per purchase among 8151 women during 1996 through 2006.

Women spent an average of US $16 (€12) out-of-pocket per pack, and younger and uninsured women had the highest out-of-pocket expenditures.

Uninsured women were 3.15 times more likely to pay $15 (€11) or more out-of-pocket compared with women with private insurance, report the researchers.

Overall, 44 percent of OC users obtained one pack per purchase while 29 percent obtained more than four packs. However, the proportion of women who obtained only one pack was significantly lower in recent years, at 35 percent in 1999-2006 compared with 76 percent in 1996-8.

"Our findings regarding who is paying more-young women and the uninsured-are concerning given that these populations may be least likely to meet these costs," conclude Liang et al.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Sarah Guy