Rx Contraceptives Most Expensive in Florida’s Low-Income Zip Codes

May 6, 2013

New Orleans, LA -- Several prescription contraceptives are more expensive in Florida’s lower income areas and the least costly in some higher income areas, according to new research presented today at the Annual Clinical Meeting of The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. For many women, particularly low-income women, cost is a leading barrier to contraception and contributes to unintended pregnancy rates.

Audrey D. Barry, MD, from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, conducted her research using information from, a website that lists prices for the 150 most commonly used prescription drugs for Florida pharmacies. “This website was developed so consumers could look up pharmacies by zip code and find where to obtain the least expensive prescription medication in their area,” said Dr. Barry.

Prices shown on are what an uninsured consumer would pay. Dr. Barry compared the prices for seven commonly used prescription hormonal contraceptives from the website. Median household income data were obtained separately for all Florida zip codes from the 2010 census.

Dr. Barry’s research revealed that nearly every prescription contraceptive was more expensive in the low-income zip codes. Further analysis of the data revealed that the highest income group reported significantly lower prices than other income zip codes for two of the prescription contraceptives.

“Access to health care, especially access to contraceptives, is a leading problem for many women,” said Dr. Barry. “And for many of these patients, cost is the leading barrier to obtaining contraceptives, leading to the high unintended pregnancy rates we see in this country. As ob-gyns, we need to be advocates for our patients. We need to be aware of these discrepancies and do what we can to change them.”

*Monday Poster #2: Costs of Contraceptives Vary by Income

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College), a 501(c)(3) organization, is the nation’s leading group of physicians providing health care for women. As a private, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization of more than 57,000 members, The College strongly advocates for quality health care for women, maintains the highest standards of clinical practice and continuing education of its members, promotes patient education, and increases awareness among its members and the public of the changing issues facing women’s health care. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a 501(c)(6) organization, is its companion organization.


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