|September 2009 · Vol. 21, No. 09
Is the IUD you inserted
If you ordered it from an offshore Web site, it probably is. The counterfeit may be cheaper, but it is also unapproved and less effective than the FDA-sanctioned device.
One of the challenges of offering the intrauterine device (IUD) as a method of birth control is the need to keep a supply in stock until the patient requests it. The IUD isn’t cheap, and reimbursement doesn’t occur until it is actually inserted in the patient.
Some physicians have been lured by substantial discounts for IUDs—both the copper T 380A (ParaGard) and the levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system (Mirena)—offered at some Web sites (FIGURE). The prices for these devices are lower, but the IUDs themselves are “knockoffs,” or counterfeits. ParaGard costs approximately $494, but counterfeit models are offered online for as little as $178. As for Mirena, the legitimate device costs $586, compared with $218 for the online knockoff.