There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
With the help of Post ie Sally Quinn, Marion Barry tried to endear himself to the incoming Republican Congress by saying that women on public assistance should receive Norplant, a time-release, surgically implanted contraceptive that lasts for up to five years. Quinn may have bought Barry’s line, but anyone who has read a recent General Accounting Office (GAO) report on the cost of Norplant must realize that Barry is endorsing a politically expedient proposal he knows will never be enacted. According to the report, the prohibitive price of Norplant has prevented federally subsidized clinics from making it widely available. Wyeth-Ayerst, a subsidiary of American Home Products, sells Norplant in the U.S. for $365 per five-year dose. In the United Kingdom, Norplant is sold by another licensed company for only $265, in Sweden for $51, and in developing countries for $23. Even when the cost of Norplant is subsidized for low- income American women, most must pay at least part of the surgical expenses. According to the GAO, the sliding-scale charges for implanting the contraceptive range from $35 to $385; removal costs between $162 and $250.