Hormones race as birth control prices skyrocket

Recently, a good friend of mine informed me that the price of her birth control pills, purchased through the Student Health Center’s Pharmacy, had gone up in price from $13 per month to $25 per month. Ever so intrigued, I decided to trek over to our superior Health Center, where mono diagnoses are a dime a dozen, and do a tad wee bit of investigating.

Fact: Watch out ladies, your Ortho Tri-Cyclen pills have increased in price due to the recent availability of generic alternatives. Fact: The $12 per month price difference between the generic and the name brands amounts to an extra $144 per year. Fact: There is nothing you can do about it, but suck it up and pay the price, literally, or switch birth control pill brands.

We at UM should count our blessings that contraception – birth control pills, condoms and such – are even made available to students for a so-called nominal fee. Several of the conservative Jesuit colleges in this country tell contraceptive-hungry students that abstinence is indeed the best answer, forcing hormone driven co-eds to seek alternative sources for contraception or bear the consequences of risky experimentation.

Perhaps abstinence is the answer for our junior high school counterparts, although God only knows what oversexed adolescents are up to in 2004, but shouldn’t bright, young, drunk adults have access to the accessories that let nature run its course safely? Without a doubt, sex is merely one of the thousands of lessons just waiting to be learned during one’s college years, that is, unless you were a brilliant teenage Casanova, or a knock-your-socks-off high school seductress; I guess congratulations, or something, are in order. The bottom line is this: a college should do as much as they possibly can to provide contraception to every student, at the lowest possible prices. Enough said.

Not so strangely enough, the issue of insurance-covered contraception has been an issue of contention in the real world. If health plans cover Viagra, then why in the world will they not cover birth control pills? Don’t forget, Viagra benefits more than the user – just as birth control pills assist everyone involved. Yes boys, it would be a damn shame if your girlfriend couldn’t afford her monthly prescription – don’t forget, it’s just as much your problem as it is hers. Who wants to have to drop off their newborn at a makeshift UM student daycare before dashing off to Memorial? Certainly not me.

Vanessa Cutler can be contacted at v.cutler@umiami.edu.