Although it’s common practice for pharmacies to dispense only three months of birth control pills at a time, offering women 12-month supplies of birth control could reduce healthcare costs and unintended pregnancy rates, according to a study recently published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
This study, which was conducted at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, used a computer model to evaluate the impact of contraceptive refills on the risk of unplanned pregnancies and healthcare costs. Based on data on female veterans from the VA, the computer model found that 43 percent of women who receive three-month supplies of birth control pills experience at least one gap of seven days or more between refills over the course of a year.
By offering 12-month supplies of birth control instead, the VA could achieve a total reduction of 24 unplanned pregnancies per 1,000 female veterans.
Furthermore, the study found that 12-month birth control supplies cost an average of $87.12 less than three-month options.
Although the study focused specifically on female veterans, lead study author Collen Judge-Golden points out that “gaps in contraceptive use are common among women in the general U.S. population as well.”
Three-month birth control supplies were once thought to be cost-saving measures that prevented people from wasting unused medication, but Judge-Golden and her team found that “concerns about waste are overshadowed by potential savings from pregnancy-related outcomes. A couple days of not having the medication can lead to a pregnancy that is not desired.”
Now, the study’s authors hope their findings will encourage the VA and other healthcare providers to revise their policies and begin offering women the option of receiving 12-month birth control supplies. To learn more about your contraceptive options, feel free call South Avenue Women’s Services at (585) 271-3850 or contact us online today!