Students at the College are working to reverse the dramatic increase in the price of birth control at the Student Health Center.
The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, a bill that meant to lower the costs of drugs for family planning groups, caused the change. It inadvertently cuts off access to low-cost drugs from college health centers so that birth control, which was formerly available to students for less than $10, has in some cases become five times more expensive.
Now student groups, such as the College chapter of Voices for Planned Parenthood, are getting involved.
“Prices for basic contraception methods such as birth control pills … rose as much as 500 percent at the Student Health Center,” Secretary of Voices for Planned Parenthood Margaret Smith ’10 said. Smith estimated that rising drug prices have impacted more than 3 million undergraduates. Vox has collected over 200 signatures for Planned Parenthood’s Affordable Birth Control campaign in an effort to drive down birth control costs.
The Women’s Studies Community Action Project is also helping.
According to Beyang Shi, a member of the Community Action Project, the College had the greatest increase in birth control costs of all of Virginia state schools.
“This is an issue of denied basic healthcare, all because there was a mistake in the way the DRA was written,” Shi said.
The Community Action Project is promoting the Prevention Through Affordable Access Act, a bill that would allow college health centers and other safety net providers to continue to buy and sell low-cost birth control. In a letter to Sen. John Warner, CAP stated that over the past three years the price of Ortho Tri-Cyclen has increased from $18 to $47, and the price of NuvaRing has increased from $20 to $52.
Both groups are worried about the health concerns caused by the recent price increases, and say that they may make birth control too expensive for college students.