Australia has a brand new addition to the list of subsidised contraceptives! The Kyleena IUD subsidy will kick in on March 1st, bringing the price down to $41 (or $6.60 for concession) from $160. Less expensive contraception? Sign me up.
It’s great news. The other available IUDs in Australia are Mirena, Skyla, Liletta and Paragard, but Kyleena is a slightly smaller OUD than the most popular type – Minena – and releases lower levels of hormones.
There’s a massive difference between $160 and $41 though, and it’s not just IUDs that can get pricey. A packet of pill contraception can cost upwards of $100 for some brands, which is super expensive for anyone. So why aren’t more contraceptives subsidised?
Let’s start with the person in a relationship who has to take the contraceptives: the woman. As much as we like to think that the “your body, your problem” attitude is a thing of the past, it’s really not. If you’ve got a uterus, the medical industry hasn’t historically been very kind to you.
On a personal level, when I’ve asked to renew my birth control script I’ve had a (male) doctor sigh and say “but I thought you were a good girl,” and another (male) doctor lecture me on “boy germs.” He meant STIs.
The classification of drugs matter, as well. In the USA, contraceptives aren’t a medical necessity, they’re a “lifestyle drug.” That’s exactly what it sounds like, by the way.
Here in Australia we don’t have the same classification systems, but the vast majority of long term birth control methods are just thrown in the pile of user-pay drugs that aren’t deemed important enough to publicly fund.
At the end of the day Australia is well behind the developed world when it comes to accessing long lasting contraceptives. We’re moving slowly in the right direction, but we should absolutely be further ahead than we are.
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