Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Barr Labs Doesn't Deny Secret Deal with Planned Parenthood, Fails to Offer Evidence of Plan B Effectiveness

By Jonathan B.
In an interview with Abortion In Washington, the manufacturer of the lucrative 'morning-after pill' known as Plan B did not deny that it has a secret deal with Planned Parenthood to provide them the drug at a massively discounted price of $4.25 per unit.

This deal between Barr Labs and the nation's largest and most profitable abortion conglomerate has been reported in the Boston Globe and many other places. It was first made public from court documents in California in 2004.

AIW is the first news source to confront Barr Labs directly with this evidence. This deep discount is highly controversial because PP sells this drug to clients at anywhere from $24-$38 per unit, and bills Medicaid $10.15, plus an $11.50 "dispensing fee", for a total of $21.65. All of this adds up to many millions of dollars of pure profit. Customers generally have no idea that they are being gouged with these enormous markups.

Carol Cox, Barr spokeswoman, would only say: "I am unfamiliar with the court case to which you are referring," and then weakly added: "As a matter of Company policy, Barr does not comment on litigation matters, nor on product pricing."

AIW had not asked them to comment on the litigation.

Ms. Cox also conspicuously failed to make any effort to answer our questions about Plan B's reported ineffectiveness in achieving its widely advertised goals.

Barr Labs, Prof. Don Downing of the University of Washington, Planned Parenthood, and countless governmental health and human services departments have been promoting Plan B as a way to dramatically reduce the abortion rate, by reducing the number of unintended pregnancies.

But we pointed out to Ms. Cox that there have been no studies anywhere in the world showing any correlation between increased Plan B availability and reduced rates of unintended pregnancies.

"Can you please comment on that?" we asked.

Silence, from the drug's manufacturer. Dead silence. A subsequent repeated request to get this question answered met with similar silence.

We followed up with a specific, local example.

We told Ms. Cox that Planned Parenthood of Western Washington (PPWW) reports that they are selling about 120,000 units of Plan B a year -- for an apparent profit of about $2.4 million -- yet their abortion business has been growing at about 11% every year during this time. Moreover, we added, they have claimed that their sales of her firm's product have resulted in many hundreds of fewer unintended pregnancies: "This prevents an estimated 600-800 unintended pregnancies every month, about half of which would have resulted in terminations," reads PPWW's 2005 Annual Report.

"How would you explain that?" we inquired. Again, Barr Labs had nothing to say.

When we spoke to PPWW's Brian Cutler about this topic, he squirmed for a bit, and eventually asked "Well, does it really matter?"

We have made repeated efforts to speak to Prof. Don Downing, who runs around the country getting the drug distributed as widely as he can, presumably for financial gain. Despite contacts by email and voicemail, Dr. Downing has had nothing to offer in his defence.

Pharmacists for Life International Executive Director Bo Kuhar condemned Barr's refusal to answer such simple questions. He told AIW: "Once again, the largest abortion provider has found a creative way to kill more preborn children through chemicals and make a greater profit margin doing it," He added: "We are not surprised at [their] sleezy business dealings [and] siphoned off over $300 million in taxpayer money and made a profit of over $112 million last year."

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