Family Planning Clinics:

Strain of Norplant's High Up-Front Costs Has Subsided

HEHS-95-7: Published: Oct 7, 1994. Publicly Released: Nov 8, 1994.

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GAO reviewed pricing issues concerning the Norplant contraceptive, focusing on determining how: (1) Norplant's U.S. price compares with its price in Canada and other countries; (2) the price of Norplant affects the budgets of family planning clinics; and (3) the U.S. price affects the demand for and acceptability of Norplant.

GAO found that: (1) when Norplant was first introduced in the United States, its high price made it difficult for clinics to provide Norplant to its clients; (2) Norplant's price is no longer a major budgetary issue for family planning clinics because its demand has leveled off and in some cases declined; (3) distributors in Great Britain sell Norplant for about $100 less than the U.S. and Canadian distributors; (4) Norplant is sold for about $51 in Sweden, but counseling and training materials are not included; (5) in developing countries, Norplant is sold for $23 because of a licensing agreement that limits profits on such sales; (6) the decline in demand for Norplant appears to be due to the fact that it lasts 5 years and is reported to have adverse side effects; and (7) some women have opted to use another injectable contraceptive that does not involve surgery and costs $30 plus physician fees for 3 months of contraceptive protection.

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