When it comes to this product, women are at the mercy of the market at a uniquely stressful moment in their lives. They do not have the luxury of «shopping around» to use their «purchasing power» to find the cheapest option given the urgency of the situation. In rural or regional towns, there may not even be many options for pharmacies that stock the pill. The generic versions may not be offered. Many women don’t even know they exist and don’t ask for them.
Bigger pharmacies can and do use their buying power to lower the cost to the $15 mark. This is obviously a positive, but it reveals how much lower the cost could be generally. It is available for free at sexual health clinics and some GPs and hospitals, but immediate access to these clinics cannot be guaranteed and some of these services are only available to certain age groups or demographics.
It is not unrealistic to expect better. In Scotland and Wales, the emergency contraceptive pill is available for free on the National Health Service from all pharmacies, GPs and sexual health clinics.
There is no equivalent product that men bear the cost of, and our concern for women in this difficult situation needs to translate into tangible change. Because it’s more than just a pill, it’s a medical service.