BackgroundPrevious studies have shown that contraceptive provision generates significant public sector cost-savings by preventing health care and social service expenditures on unintended pregnancies. Over the past decade, women's contraceptive options have expanded considerably, calling for the need to better understand the relative cost-benefit of new contraceptive methods.
MethodsWe estimated the number of pregnancies averted by each specific contraceptive method by subtracting the total number of pregnancies expected under Family PACT from the total number of pregnancies that would be expected if the program were not available. The cost of providing each method was compared with the savings in reduced public expenditures from averted pregnancies. A resultant cost-benefit ratio was calculated for 11 specific contraceptive methods provided to women under Family PACT.
ResultsEvery contraceptive method studied saved more in public expenditures for unintended pregnancy than it costs to provide. Over half (51%) of the pregnancies averted in 2009 were attributable to the most commonly used method, oral contraceptives. Injectable methods accounted for 13% of averted pregnancies, followed by intrauterine contraceptives (12%), and barrier methods (9%). Intrauterine contraception and contraceptive implants had the highest cost-savings with approximately $5.00 of savings for every dollar spent for users of these methods.
ConclusionsBecause no single method is recommended clinically for every woman, it is medically and fiscally advisable to offer women all contraceptive methods to enable them to choose methods that best meet their needs, increasing the likelihood of compliance with the method chosen and prevention of unintended pregnancies.