Walmart offering $9 Birth Control Pills

 (Update – Target and Kroger now sell the same pills Walmart sells for the same $9. In some states, Target’s price is $4 for a month supply.)

The Good News
It’s true. Walmart is selling birth control pills for $9 a pack for a month supply and $8 a pack for a 90 day supply.

That’s the good news, and for women without insurance, its great news. For women who have insurance and a $10 co-pay, it’s not a big savings, and if you can mail away for 3 packs with that co-pay, I’d say “No thanks” to Walmart. But Walmart’s birth control pills are a great deal for women without insurance.

And a huge turn-around from the early days when Walmart refused to carry the morning-after pill, a policy they changed last year. Ah, the power of the almighty profit-dollar. Occasionally, it can be used for good…

The Not Necessarily Bad News

Here’s the not so good, but then again, not necessarily bad news. It’s only 2 pills – Sprintec and Tri-Sprintec, generic versions of Ortho Cyclen and Ortho Tricyclen. Not necessarily my first choice of pills, but not necessarily bad ones, either. For most women, these are fine – in fact, more than fine – pills.

Anecdotally, I seem to get a few more complaints of moodiness on these pills, but it’s not a common side effect. In clinical trials, moodiness was more common among users of Ortho Tri Cyclen than in placebo users, but overall occurred in less than 10% of users. If I had no insurance, and had no problems with mood on pills before, generic Ortho-tricyclen or Ortho Cyclen would be my first choice pill, for sure.

If you have acne, Wal-Mart’s offering a great pill. Ortho-Cyclen was the first pill to receive FDA-approval for acne treatment, primarily because Ortho was the first company to do the clinical trials that proved what we all knew for years – namely, most birth control pills are good for acne. Now, other pill manufacturers have gotten wise. Both Estrastep and Yaz are also FDA-approved for acne treatment.

The Ugly News

The ugly news about Walmart’s birth control pills are the higher generic price tag. Walmart offers all it’s other generics for $4. Why the difference for birth control pills? Wal-Mart claims that the reason for the higher price is that they needed it to be profitable.

I’m not buying it.

Birth control pills are no more expensive than other drugs. In fact, some of the drugs being offered in Wal-Mart’s $4 generic plan are traditionally very expensive – Lamictal and Diflucan to name just two.

No, I figure that Walmart is banking that young women are more likely than Seniors to swallow the $5 difference in price, and also more likely to spend a pretty penny in their stores. And since there is no lobbying group with the power of the AARP behind young women, why not charge them more?

It’s just another example of price discrimination against women. If the dry cleaners and clothing manufacturers can get away with charging women twice the price as they charge men for the same products and services, why shouldn’t Walmart do the same thing?

If I seem particularly sensitive about this subject, it’s because this week, my husband accidentally took one of my “blouses” in for dry cleaning along with his “shirts”, and lo and behold they cleaned the thing for only $1.99 instead of my usual price of $5.99! Lesson learned – send hubby in with your dry cleaning.

Now if it were only that easy for birth control…
_______________________________________________________

You may also want to read –

Kailyn Chooses Mirena - Was it Product Placement?
Save $ on Birth Control (and not just pills). Tips from a gyno in the know.
Clots & Birth Control - What's Real Risk? Let me help you visualize it...

55 Responses to Walmart offering $9 Birth Control Pills

  1. If all Walmart generics were $4, I’d agree with you, but I get two generics from Walmart that are more than $20. They have a limited range of the $4 ones. It is great that women without insurance now have this option!

  2. “It’s just another example of price discrimination against women.”
    Always true unfortunately. I buy mens athletic shoes for that reason and mens jeans also. Besides, Wal Mart is evil. They destroy communities, destroy families of Mom and Pop stores, discriminate horribly, support sweatshops and child labor~anything to keep it cheap. I’ll shop anywhere but Wal Mart.

  3. I agree with the anti-Walmart sentiment a million percent. BUT… this is a major savings. The lowest generic I could find to Rx prior was 24/month. We have 70% self-pay clients so this is good news.

    BTW, you mention these aren’t your usual first choice. What are, and why? I find the OCP options overwhelming and appreciate insight.

  4. Dr Smak – It IS good news, isn;t it? Wouldn’t it be ironic if Walmart’s pricing policy were to lead to lower rates of unplanned pregnancies? My brother, the free-market capitalist, would make me tatoo “I told you so” on my foreheard…

    Anonymous

    I know, not all generics are part of the $4 pricing group. I just find it incredibly annoying that fertilit drug and birth control have to be a new tier of cost.

    To their credit, Walmart does have some hormone replacement meds on their $4 list, so it’s not complete female discrimination. But I just don’t think birth control pills need a new tier.

    MMT0
    If you have kids, you’ll scream when you see the difference in quality and price between boys clothes and girls clothes. My girls are learning that for many things, they should just head to the boy’s department first…

    Country midwife –
    Agree, this is a fabulous cost savings!

    Truth be told, I don’t have a first choice pill. I prescribe individually, and try to choose thw pill I think will fit each patient best. For most women, it really doesn’t matter, and cost can be the deciding factor. Some of the older generics are just fine, and some of the new pills have advantages for certain patients.

    I’m currently loving the NuvaRing – It seems to fit a huge niche for patients who want the ease of not taking a pill but want something lower dose than the patch, (which has more estrogen than most currently marketed pills), or who are having breakthrough bleeding on pills or recurrent ovarian cysts. I see very few side effects with it, although most women don’t like the idea of something in their vaginal all the time. I wish they would come out with a lower dose patch…I loved that method till the news about the higher estrogen levels was released. Not that I don’t use it in some patients, but it’s definitiely not a first line for me.

    If you want, I can send you a reprint of a recent article and book chapter I wrote on presribing oral contraceptives. Just drop me an emai with your address.

  5. The cynic in me notes that Clomid is on the list, too, which seems a little self-perpetuating for a retailer of baby products. ;0)

    I, too, was shocked at the cheap Diflucan and Lamisil.

    The biggest omission, from where I gaze from, is tamoxifen. It’s not a super-expensive generic (around $20/month cash price at most pharmacies, comparable to a lot of the drugs on the 400 List), but for women who have survived the physical effects of breast cancer, a little financial break on part of their continuing therapy would be a very concrete expression of solidarity in the fight.

    E

  6. Working as pharmacist I can personally guarantee you that walmart is losing around $7.00 per rx for the birth control pills noted. What people don’t understand is that walmart undercutting independent pharmacies, that actually take time and care about their patients, only further erodes the quality of healthcare in this country. How many walmart pharmacists know your name or care if you actually take your meds and improve your life?? Everybody wants to save a few bucks but at what future expense are we doing this?? What if walmart had $4 doctor visits but the doctors didn’t give a bull about you or your life would you go just to save that copay?? I can’t imagine ever working for a company like this and can’t imagine a pharmacist who isn’t only looking for a paycheck working there either. You want cheap generics, just be ready for a pharmacist with no knowledge of customer service or anything but counting pills either. Real pharmacists would never work for walmart.

  7. Thank you to the previous pharmacists’ post!! I too, an independent pharmacist have been shocked by walmart’s 9.00 price on b/c. One of my employees at the pharmacy is even going to walmart to get it b/c she doesn’t have insurance and if we give it to her at 9.00 we’ll lose 7-8 bucks every month. We’ll match most of the 4.00 prescriptions, but some of them on that list I still can’t understand how they get profit on, unless there is some kind of major price discrimination going on!?? (lovastatin 10mg,20mg, pravastatin, etc.) At least I know our service “beats the hell out of walmart” as one customer assured me this week; and many others do to…often!

  8. This doesn’t even effect me, the $9 bc isn’t even offered in my state. If I get perscribed a brand, and the brand has a generic…it will be like $5/20/40 (which is my insurance copay) right?

  9. I live in Pennsylvania…and my b/c at wal-mart is $27. PA is a state that just this past October passed some bull$hit law about not being able to sell b/c below cost. WTF??? I can tell you that because of xmas this year…I don’t have my pills this month. I couldn’t afford them. It is cheaper to use condoms. I can’t even go to family planning and get them cheap because some fat a$$ bureaucrat in office feels its okay for me to get knocked up again and have my 3 kids living on welfare all because I couldn’t afford my b/c. It is cheaper for my not to work than pay a sitter, and my husband while he makes a good living…it isn’t enough to feed us, keep us warm and enjoy some perks….so i will do it on the governments dime

  10. This is really good news for me, since I don’t have insurance, but I can’t believe some of the hypocritical elitist hogwash in these comments. If walmart is so evil for making it difficult for some pharmacies to compete then why don’t you swing that judgemental pendulum back the other way because how much worse is it to insist that lower-income individuals should spend way more for the same product so the independent pharmacies can be richer. At least Walmart’s “evilness” helps the people who need it most.

  11. Also, the economic miseducation of the author of this blog and many of the posters is baffling to me. “price discrimination”? Did your high schools not require you people to take basic econ or are you just willfully ignorant?

    Here’s a quick lesson: Profits are the #1 priority of businesses. So any business that determines price from something other than the relationship between supply and demand, like for example: misogynism, they will fail because NO ONE WILL PURCHASE THE PRODUCT.

  12. Anonymous –

    Supply and demand only works if there is a lower price alternative or if folks can live without the product.

    Dry cleaning is a classic example -women’s prices are universally fixed higher than mens, and there’s nowhere to go where that is not the case. I don’t know about you, but I’m not washing my suits…

    Or women’ clothing – poorly made and twice the price as men’s, but what choice do we have other than to shop in the men’s department (which I have my girls do as often as possible).

    As for BC pills, living without means getting pregnant. Can’t see women doing without them.

  13. Three cheers for Wal-Mart. And now they’ve started selling 3 months of those generics for $10. Wow! For my other meds that aren’t generic I use the prescription discount card that I found at http://www.rxdrugcard.com. Low membership fee. Drug prices posted to check before you join.

  14. Wow… stop bitching! 1) women’s cloths cost more BECAUSE WOMEN ARE WILLING TO PAY MORE! 2) Birth control is great – I’ll agree. But it is NOT A NECESSITY! condoms are cheap. I know it doesn’t feel the same but if you are really worried so much about price discrimination, suck it up. 3) Wal-Mart’s service doesn’t really matter if you are getting a better deal. Here’s my logic: I don’t want a blowjob every time I walk into a drug store. I just want my drugs. No sex, just drugs. Again, stop bitching!

  15. Wow! You need to calm down and think before you type. I, like many others, are on birth control to help with irregular bleeding. The alternative is a hysterectomy. I'm only 34 years old. Have some concern for others!

  16. the generic birth control sold at walmart is garbage. i have read several reviews about it and it has several complaints. theese generics are allowed to have 20% less active ingredients then the name brand. i saw it on some other forums. i will not take it cause i will still be paying for birth control even though it is only 9 dollars and end up getting pregnant. walmart just wants you to shop at their stores. just like at their tire servive. how long does it take you to change oil at walmart? 3 hours sometimes. it is a scam! they want you to shop in their store longer. the pharmacy takes too long too and i believe it is their scam also!

  17. Anonymous: condoms are only cheaper than birth control if you don't do it often enough.

    I am shocked at the $27 copayment for OCPs. For 27USD, you can buy an entire year's worth of OCP in Australia – and this is not at all subsidised by our public health plan. See here for an example.

    Sherri: "I saw it on some other forums" is not an excuse to be spreading untruths to cost people money. Generics are safe and effective. There is no reason to buy a brand if there is a generic available, unless you are demented and require a pill to be the same colour.

  18. As a guy with a fiance who is a full time collage student without a job I really fail to see how this is discrimination against women…

    And I agree if you need them often enough condoms are way more expensive.

  19. I don’t know about you, but I hate their cheap birth control brand, because I have all kinds of problems when I tried it… I found my good (Yaz) Birth control on MyCycledirect.com for half the price, after a friend recommended it.. Good Luck

  20. Walmart provides the lowest prices on the planet for birth control pills. They are so cheap the price is less than 30 cents a day. They are even cheaper than many charities. And all we hear is complaints. Walmart has revolutionized the price of health care in a way that nobody else has been able to, bringing life and health and pleasure giving products to the world. And that pisses you off.

    You people are disgusting.

  21. I ended up here because of the recent flap over birth-control pills and their cost.

    But I’m amazed at what I’m reading. Are you really saying that Walmart doesn’t have the right to price the things they sell at whatever price they wish? Are you looking for price controls?

    Is the current administration’s desire for higher gas prices some sort of discrimination against people who have to drive more? What a bunch of baloney.

    And does the high price of baloney constitute discrimination against carnivores in favor of vegetarians?

    • Willy –

      Where did you see me saying Walmart has no right to price what they want? It’s a free country, isn’t it? And where did you see me asking for price controls?

      What I am saying, Willy, is that Walmart is pricing pills at what they believe the market will bear, which in the case of women’s products is usually a higher price than a comparable male product. And that pisses me off.

      If you’d read the whole post, especially the last part about my husband taking my blouse in to be cleaned and paying a much lower price for it than I pay for the same blouse, you would get the context of my little rant. And if you were charged a higher price to dry clean your shirt because you happened to be a woman instead of a man, you’d be pissed off too. But since you’re a guy, your shirts get cleaned for a quarter of the price I pay. Lucky you.

      I have an absolute right to point out to women the differential pricing between birth control pills and other drugs. And to be annoyed by it. And use that annoyance to drive my purchasing behavior if I choose to do so – by taking my pill prescription to Target instead of Walmart. It’s called free speech and the free market.

      Thanks for reading.

      Peggy

      • I did read your whole post, and if you read my comment, you’ll note that I never contested your right to free speech. I suspect that I support free speech and free markets more than you. As a previous commenter pointed out, we should be celebrating the fact that free markets made the prices so low.

        There is always a creepy inference that leftists make when someone disagrees with them, namely, that someone is attempting to “censor” them.

        I’m glad to hear that you support Walmart’s right to price things as they wish, but being “pissed off” seems inappropriate. Your income likely puts you in the 90th percentile of earners, and you have made great profits providing women’s healthcare services at prices that the “market will bear”. More power to you, but what’s good for the goose should be good for the gander.

        And when you consider that someone who has his/her clothes dry-cleaned is likely in the upper tiers of income earners, it makes it all the more silly to paint those people as a victim. There are people who cannot even afford to have their clothes dry-cleaned. But is that really “discrimination” against the poor?

        • Willy –

          Charging me more for something just because I am a woman is ripping me off. And no matter what my income may be or whether I am liberal or conservative, that pisses me off.

          Always has, always will.

          Peggy

          • So shop around instead of complaining and implying that you want the government through the threat of violence to force them to give you a better deal. If what you’re saying is actually true and the cleaners are charging you too much because you’re a woman and they hate you then there should be other competing cleaning services in the area who will charge a lower price that’s closer to the real market value. And they will gain your business from the other place you went to that is supposedly discriminating, which will effectively punish that business for doing so. If this is not the case and the other cleaners in your area are changing similar rates then perhaps there are legitimate reasons for it besides an irrational bias against female customers. Like perhaps women’s close are more delicate and require more care. Or perhaps women customers complain more and are more fussy about how their clothes come out. You seem like the type of person who complains a lot so I can see how attending to you could potentially be more expensive for a business than a man would be.

  22. Here’s a concept. Stop patronizing shops you know charge women more. However, I doubt the truthfulness of the articles author about the dry cleaner. Regardless, a business should have the right to charge whatever they want for a good or service and the market will dictate what the cost of that good or service will be – not some busy-boy gov’t entity (which always screws up the market and causes prices to rise, NOT fall). If you’re not willing to pay the $5.99, then don’t. Find someone who will do it cheaper, and then the original guy will have to adjust his prices if he wants to keep yours business. If he doesn’t want to keep your business then that’s his business! And possibly his loss – although in this case it may be a blessing in disguise.

  23. Here’s a concept: Stop patronizing shops you know charge women more. However, I doubt the truthfulness of the articles author about the dry cleaner. Regardless, a business should have the right to charge whatever they want for a good or service and the market will dictate what the cost of that good or service will be – not some busy-boy gov’t entity (which always screws up the market and causes prices to rise, NOT fall). If you’re not willing to pay the $5.99, then don’t. Find someone who will do it cheaper, and then the original guy will have to adjust his prices if he wants to keep yours business. If he doesn’t want to keep your business then that’s his business! And possibly his loss – although in this case it may be a blessing in disguise.

    • They don’t want to have to reduce themselves to shopping at places like Wal-Mart or Target that frugal people shop at though. They want the name brand drug that costs several times more, even though it has the same active ingredient and is the same product minus a fancier looking box. These kinds of liberals can’t be bothered to do stuff like shop around and look for good deals. I mean look at their economic theories: force people to spend lots of money they otherwise wouldn’t by having the government tax them highly and spend it on ‘public works’ projects. They actually believe in ‘the paradox of thrift’ and that saving is bad for the economy.

  24. […] Coming off the PillShould You Be Treating Acne with the Birth Control Pill? – http://www.TheLoveVitamin.comdiet pill side effects Q&A: are there any long term side effects for diet pillsCan I take painkillers for cramps while on birth controlBirth Control DosagesGetting pregnant after the pill – Be pregnant fasthnpfvzrpokdmxgvaLet’s Talk About Birth ControlWhat’s Your Take On the Pill and What Happens When You Go Off ItWalmart offering $9 Birth Control Pills […]

  25. Why doesn’t Obama just declare them to be a right and make them free for all? I mean don’t we women have rights, too? Just like Sandra Fluke (you go, gurl!), I too spend several thousand on birth control per year. This is an outrage! Free women’s heathcare for all!

  26. […] In contrast, birth control is widely supported under the Affordable Care Act. It mandates that insurance pay for all FDA-approved methods of birth control, which includes an exhaustive laundry list of options, ranging from male and female condoms to sterilization surgeries to “family planning education and counseling.” And there is still that $9 per month option at Walmart. […]

  27. […] Walmart offering $9 Birth Control Pills I have seen women on welfare and poor take the pill. When I used to work at a minimum wage job, a female coworker excused herself to take the pill. Condoms are just down the street at any 7-11. I have witnessed an entire family of girls come into a clinic I used to work in and get the patch with no problem. I doubt many females are having a hard time getting birth control but your anecdote is noted. Quote: […]

  28. I live in Ohio and I went to local drug store because they said they would match the Walmart price on Trisprintec…but they give me Triprevifem. 3 mo./$27

Leave a Reply