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Your body, your choice

(NC) Don't sacrifice your choice of medicine because of cost. Now there's a way to get brand name medicines at the same, or a similar price. Oral contraceptives are a good illustration.

For years, women have relied on them to regulate their menstrual cycle in a way that aggressively prevents the chance of pregnancy. Brand name oral contraceptives have become the tried, tested and true gold standard for Canadian women for more than 50 years.

In more recent years, as those patents expire, generic products have entered the market. In Canada, women have the choice to receive generic oral contraceptives or their preferred brand. Recent quality control issues involving generic birth control pills, however, have led to product recalls across the country putting Canadian women at risk.

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) has stated that while they welcome the increased choice and less expensive contraceptive options made available to women through generic oral contraceptives, at this time generic formulations have no Pearl Index rating, the accepted standard for evaluating effectiveness of a contraceptive method.

While generic oral contraception offers a lower price, Canadian women should know they can choose to stay on their preferred brand name birth control while paying the lower, generic price. Here's how:

The RxHelp patient assistance card programs are free of charge and allow Canadians to remain on their brand name medicines at little or no additional cost over the generic version. A patient must have a valid prescription from their doctor, present it to the pharmacist along with the card, and request to remain on their brand. A complete list of all medications (including such oral contraceptive brands as Alesse, Marvelon and Depo-Provera) offered with this program can be found at www.RxHelp.ca.

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