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Am J Public Health. 1995 Apr;85(4):494-503.

The economic value of contraception: a comparison of 15 methods.

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  • 1Office of Population Research, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University, NJ 08544, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

The purpose of the study was to determine the clinical and economic impact of alternative contraceptive methods.

METHODS:

Direct medical costs (method use, side effects, and unintended pregnancies) associated with 15 contraceptive methods were modeled from the perspectives of a private payer and a publicly funded program. Cost data were drawn from a national claims database and MediCal. The main outcome measures included 1-year and 5-year costs and number of pregnancies avoided compared with use of no contraceptive method.

RESULTS:

All 15 contraceptives were more effective and less costly than no method. Over 5 years, the copper-T IUD, vasectomy, the contraceptive implant, and the injectable contraceptive were the most cost-effective, saving $14,122, $13,899, $13,813, and $13,373, respectively, and preventing approximately the same number of pregnancies (4.2) per person. Because of their high failure rates, barrier methods, spermicides, withdrawal, and periodic abstinence were costly but still saved from $8933 to $12,239 over 5 years. Oral contraceptives fell between these groups, costing $1784 over 5 years, saving $12,879, and preventing 4.1 pregnancies.

CONCLUSIONS:

Contraceptives save health care resources by preventing unintended pregnancies. Up-front acquisition costs are inaccurate predictors of the total economic costs of competing contraceptive methods.

Comment in

PMID:
7702112
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC1615115
Free PMC Article
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